You may remember some happy adventures I had with asylum seekers from a middle eastern country some months ago. These friends were in a pickle because she had become a Christian and started going to a Christian house church in their home country. Her brothers heard about it and put pressure on her husband to use violence on her to stop her. His response was to pay a crook for a visa to get into Europe where they could go to visit some family in a Northern European country and ask for asylum.
The visa delivered was for France, so they came to France and then travelled to their hoped-for destination. On asking for asylum they were told that as their visa was for France they had to apply for asylum in France and they were put on a bus to Paris. After a few weeks on the streets in a country whose language they do not speak they returned to the Northern European country. This time they were put in a refugee centre while better arrangements could be made.
These better arrangements involved them being sent to Bordeaux, then the church they were in contact with up north got in touch with us to help them. Look back in the blog for further details of queues at the prefecture, queues at the CADA, queues at the OFII, queues galore, queues everywhere.
Well then they were relocated to a flat in a southern French town where another OFII, another CADA and another church has been looking after them.
And we heard recently that they have been given refugee status, the right to work and a ten-year carte de séjour. We never dreamt that the process would be so quick.
This is probably linked to France's decision to open the doors to Christian refugees from the Middle-East. Sometimes I am very proud of France.