At the beginning of the month I stumbled upon this article (in French) discussing the changes in the language requirements for becoming a French citizen. Apparently they have just changed the law and now candidates applying for French citizenship must demonstrate a B1 level of French, rather than the previous A1. If they cannot demonstrate this new level, they will be required to take language classes until they obtain the level. These can either be free class with government accredited "FLI" (français langue d'intégration) institutions, or, for those who want to reach the level faster, private lessons that the candidate must pay for.
Apparently, included in this new language requirement is the elimination of the traditional language interview to obtain citizenship. Now the candidate will be required to supply proof that they have the appropriate level in the form of a diploma or an attestation de niveau from an institution recognized by the Minister of the Interior.
At the moment I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this change. While I agree that it is important that a person who is trying to become French have a firm grasp of the language, I don't at all agree with the elimination of the language interview. What happens to those people who have been living in France for years and learned French by being surrounded by it, and definitely have the B1 level or higher, but do not have a diploma to prove it? Are they going to be forced to give up their time to attend unnecessary language classes? And doesn't this cost an awful lot for the French government? Or are taxes on immigration services going to increase even more as a result?
What do you think?