France Saw Voluntary Repatriation of Just 5,000 People in 2021

According to the head of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII), just 5,000 people opted to voluntarily return to their country last year despite the French government offering cash to do so.

Didier Leschi, the head of the OFII, stated that just 5,000 migrants living in France illegally had accepted the French state’s offer of a free flight and a sum of up to €1,850 (£1,546/$2,120) in order to return to their home countries last year.

“We are in a very difficult period from the point of view of deportations (at the border) because of the health crisis,” Leschi said per the French news outlet 20 Minutes.

“For voluntary departures, we had risen to 8,000 in 2019, but the cessation of air transport, the health difficulties, brought us back to around 5,000 departures in 2021,” he added.

“It seems important to me to ensure that people, as soon as they no longer have a residence permit, return in the best conditions to their country of origin and to stabilize them by allowing them to develop an economic activity,” Leschi told the French National Assembly’s Law Committee.

Only 22 of Nearly 8,000 Algerian Illegals Deported as France Tightens Visa Rules

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 1, 2021

Prior to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, France saw several years in a row of record numbers of asylum claims, with 123,000 in 2018 and around 138,000 in 2019.

In 2020, the first year of the Wuhan virus pandemic, the number of asylum applications was reduced to 81,800 according to data from the European Union statistics agency Eurostat, which credited the decrease to coronavirus travel restrictions.

In total, France’s illegal immigrant population is estimated to be between 600,000 and 700,000 by the French Interior Ministry. In November, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin claimed the figure was actually quite low compared to other European countries.

“France has far fewer illegal immigrants than most of the major countries in Europe, starting with Great Britain: between 1 and 1.5 million against 600,000 to 700,000 for us,” he said.

Involuntary deportations of illegals have also been made difficult by the pandemic as some migrants simply refuse to take a coronavirus test, which is required by their home countries in order for them to accept their nationals back.

France Estimates Illegal Migrant Population Between 600-700,000

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 24, 2021

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)

Chris Tomlinson