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Changes to France's Immigration Law Increasing Difficulty for HIV-Positive Immigrants to Obtain Residence Visa, Access to Treatment

October 11, 2006

Recent changes to France's immigration laws have made it harder for HIV-positive immigrants -- mainly from Africa -- to qualify for a visa called a "vital residence permit," which "guarantees access to social services and provides some sense of stability," PlusNews reports. Under French law, immigrants with long-term illnesses are permitted to stay in the country under a residence visa and qualify for medical treatment, according to PlusNews. However, Elodie Redouani, legal counsel for the Association for Research, Communication and Action for Access to Treatment, said that some people in the "last year or two ... have been hearing that they can't apply for a residence visa even if they meet the criteria. They are told that they are here only for treatment and that they'll get sent home." In addition, HIV-positive immigrants can be deported because of the complexity of the application process, if they do not have proper papers or if they omitted their HIV status on their application, PlusNews reports. According to PlusNews, HIV-positive immigrants can obtain assistance in accessing HIV/AIDS treatment and avoiding deportation from many organizations in the country, especially in Paris. About 20,000 HIV-positive foreigners live in France (PlusNews, 10/9).

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