France says it will close scores of makeshift camps in the port of Calais within days. The camps, known as "the jungle", are used by migrants trying to cross the Channel to Britain.
Immigration minister Eric Besson says it has replaced official camps such as Sangatte as a gathering point.
The BBC reports about 1500 migrants, many from Iraq and Afghanistan, are now living in the settlements.
The minister promised that each illegal immigrant would be offered the chance to apply for asylum or to return voluntarily to their country of origin.