As a foreigner, you could think of France as a country with a wide diversity and culture, it is true on some points but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Of course this country is probably more open about border policy than most of the rest of the world. With Germany, the UK and Italy, France is part of the most open European countries for immigrants. But it depends what you call “immigrants” because there are obviously different kinds of foreigners and they are not treated in the same way.
What about a bit of History ? Most immigrants arrived after WWII, they were mostly Italians, Spanish and Portuguese. Some decades later, during the 70’s, the North African, the Vietnamese and then, people from the Sub-Saharan, which means below the Sahara, arrived in France. Nowadays, France is composed of children and most likely grandchildren of immigrants, who were born in France and now, completely French with different origins.
Except for exchange students thanks to the Erasmus programme, it is uncommon to meet a person in their twenties coming to France for work, but it obviously happens sometimes and when it does, the welcoming is not always easy. Most foreigners find the integration difficult mostly because of the culture shock, the language and the accent. French people are not often used to different accent and some of them happen to be, unconsciously, a tiny bit judgemental.
We have met a Portuguese girl, having different origins herself, who arrived in France a year ago and on top of that, in a context of a Global Pandemic. We will therefore see how she is doing professionally and socially, then she will explain to us how difficult the integration can be in a new country when you barely speak the language.