An overly zealous CAF: resident permit application for EU nationals

Extract from Récit de Marcello • 35 years old • Man • Italian

At the same time, I went to the CAF (Family Allowance Fund) to get information about housing benefits (Aides Personalisées au Logement -APL, Individualised Housing Allowance). After hours of queuing, I was dealt with by a particularly unpleasant employee who said to me, “You Italians, Spanish and Portuguese! You think you have the same rights as the French!” She went on, “You’re out of luck here in Marseille! In front of you there are loads of Algerians, Tunisians, etc., who have even more rights than you!” She followed these remarks by asking me for my residence permit, a document she insisted was necessary before my application could be processed. Suprised by this, I asked her to show me the texts which justified her demand. Neither she nor her colleagues ever presented me with any written justification for this. I took the time to collect information relating to this before going to the Prefecture: the Italian Consulate informed me that the CAF had no right demanding a residence permit, but they did nothing more for me. They didn’t even give me a letter that I could take to the CAF. A French friend who works for a pro-migrant association explained to me that the residence permit is merely optional for Europeans: “If you want you can get one, if you have all the papers you need… But it’s not mandatory and government agencies can’t demand it from you.” Armed with this information, the relevent European laws and regulationsprinted out, and a letter from the pro-migrant association threatening to file a complaint, I returned to the CAF. I avoided the woman who had received me the time before and I had the good fortune of being seen by a young man who accepted my eligibility without asking for a residence permit.

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