Reports & Working Papers

Publication details

Irregular Migration in Europe: EU Policies and the fundamental rights Gap
Release year: 2011
Organisation: CEPS

Author(s) details

Joanna Parkin

Massimo Merlino

Publication description

European Union Policies, Undocumented Workers, Irregular Migration, Human Rights
The labour exploitation of undocumented workers nee ds to be understood within the broader context of the vulnerability of third country national TCNs lacking a regular status of entry or stay. The negative impact of certain immigration policies hindering or denying access by undocumented migrants to employment and fair working conditions and to basic socio-economic rights more generally, has been found to compound this vulnerable status. This problematic has been repeatedly underlined by academics and civil society actors ac ross the European Union. This report aims to provide an overview of undocumented migrant workers in the EU, drawing on current policy making, academic texts and the results of EU funded research projects on undocumented migration. It addresses some of the core issues at stake when trying to understand the broader context of irregular migration: Who are we talking about when we refer to irregular migrants, how is this group addressed within the legal and policy frameworks of the European Union and what are the practical issues affecting their access to employment related rights? The paper should be read in conjunction with the CEPS paper “Fundamental and Human Rights Framework: Protecting Irregular Migrants in the EU” , which sets out the broader EU and international legal framework of rights accorded to undocumented migrants. Together, these reports aim to provide a starting point for the “What Price the Tomatoes?!” project, offering a broad legal and policy framework in which to locate issue s surrounding the labour exploitation of undocumented migrant workers. The first section sets the context by shedding light on basic questions surrounding irregular migration: who is an irregular migrant, how do individuals fall into irregularity and what is the size of the irregular migrant population in the EU. The second section examines how irregular migrants are addressed by the legal and policy framework of the European Union. Special attention is paid to the policies, programmes and projects of the Europe an Commission implicating undocumented migrants, leaving the legislative framework to be developed in greater depth in the second CEPS paper. The third section examines evidence of the barriers faced on a day-to-day basis by undocumented migrants in their access to basic social and economic rights – particularly concerning employment and fair working conditions.