Forms and levels of material reception conditions

France

Author

Forum Réfugiés - Cosi

Different forms of material reception conditions exist in the law. They include: (a) accommodation in asylum seekers reception centres; (b) accommodation in any other facility that is funded by the Ministry of the Interior; and (c) financial benefits. This section will refer to the forms and levels of financial assistance available to asylum seekers.

The 2015 reform of the law on asylum has introduced a single allowance, the allowance for asylum seekers (ADA).1 It replaces the monthly subsistence allowance (AMS) and the temporary waiting allowance (ATA).

ADA is granted to asylum seekers above 18 years old,2 who accept material conditions proposed by OFII until their asylum claim has been processed or until their transfer to another responsible State is effective. Only one allowance per household is allowed.3 The payment of the allocation ends at the end of the month following the notification of a final decision on the claim.

The amount of ADA is calculated on the basis of resources, type of accommodation provided and age criteria. Family composition, in particular the number of children, is taken into account in the calculation of ADA.4 The total amount of ADA is re-evaluated once a year, if needed, to take into account the inflation rate. Unfortunately, the amount has not been re-evaluated in 2016.

The daily amount of ADA is defined upon application of the following scale:5

Composition of the household

ADA daily rate

1 person

6.80 €

2 persons

10.20 €

3 persons

13.60 €

4 persons

17 €

5 persons

20.40 €

6 persons

23.80 €

7 persons

27.20 €

8 persons

30.60 €

9 persons

34 €

10 persons

37.40 €

An additional daily rate of 4.20€ is payed to adult asylum seekers who have accepted to be accommodated but who cannot be accommodated through the national reception scheme. This amount is really low and renders the access to accommodation on the private market almost impossible. The Council of State annulled this part of the Decree on 23 December 2016 with immediate effect. It has also enjoined the French government to increase this amount within two months, in order to enable asylum seekers who are not accommodated to have access to decent living conditions.6

ADA is payed to asylum seekers on a monthly basis directly by OFII on a card, similar to a credit card that can be used by asylum seekers. It is not necessary for asylum seekers to open a bank account to benefit from ADA (except in some cases where asylum seekers are overseas) and use the card.7 Many problems have been raised by local stakeholders in the field relating to ADA. On many occasions, the allowance has been paid late. In addition, some asylum seekers are not familiar with using a credit card or a cash machine. In some accommodation centres, asylum seekers do not receive the same amount even if they are in similar situation; same date of arrival and registration, same family composition or same duration of accommodation in the centre. These issues can create tensions between asylum seekers and may expose social workers to a lot of pressure and complicate their work. Moreover, it is really difficult to interact with OFII, according to local NGOs, to resolve such problems. Indeed, even where there are some local representations of OFII in regions, they do not intervene at the level of the allowance distribution.

The starting point of the calculation of the allowance is the date of signature of acceptance of material conditions offered by OFII, which may occur normally when they go to the single desk for registration. The effective payment usually starts since the asylum seeker produces the proof his or her asylum claim has been sent to OFPRA. The payment is supposed to retroactively take into account the time spent between the registration at Prefecture and the sending of the asylum claim to OFPRA. In practice, many issues have been reported. The amounts do not correspond to the aforementioned period or the first payments intervene really late.

In case of a subsequent application or if the asylum claim has not been introduced within 120 days, ADA can be refused.8 If the allowance is denied to an asylum seeker submitting an asylum claim, it must be made on the basis of a written and motivated decision and must take in consideration the vulnerability of the person.9 The administrative courts have recalled this principle to OFII because, especially shortly after the 2015 law entered into force, the allowance was systematically denied to asylum seekers in this case.10

 

  • 1. Article L.744-9 Ceseda.
  • 2. Article D.740-18 Ceseda, as inserted by the Decree of 21 October 2015.
  • 3. Article D.744-25 Ceseda.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Annex 7-1 Ceseda.
  • 6. Council of State, Decision No 394819, 23 December 2016.
  • 7. Article D.744-33 Ceseda.
  • 8. Article D.744-37 Ceseda.
  • 9. Article L.744-8 Ceseda.
  • 10. Administrative Court of Montpellier, Order No 1510514, 23 December 2015.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection across 20 countries.