Introduction / History Indians appear to be the largest South Asian group in France. In the 1990s, mainly Tamils from Sri Lanka came into the country.
Early in the twentieth century only a few people from South Asia came to France. South Asians leaving the troubles in Uganda at the time came to the country in the early 1970s. Sri Lankans working in Iran came in the late 1970s after the Iranian revolution. Later they became the bridge for Tamil refugees in the civil war.
In the early 1990s a small Pakistani community came. The majority of them worked in the manufacturing industry or in the service trade. They have lived mainly in Paris. Unskilled workers from the Punjab and the northwest have come into the country. They keep to themselves and have regular contact with their families in Pakistan.
Most South Asians in France appear to work in unskilled jobs; for example, in restaurants. Many Tamils have Indian restaurants and travel agencies and there are Tamil newspapers. Religious temples are said to have been built in some towns. Though Tamils keep to themselves, many provide a good education for their children. Tamil boys may have white girl friends from France but there are not many mixed marriages. There are not many Tamil women in France. Unmarried women cannot come and Tamil refugees cannot return to Sri Lanka to marry. For a time they married in India. They have since gone to Malaysia and Singapore for civil marriages to gain entry into France and the rituals are then done. Some only have ritual marriages in France and are classed as single by law.