Irregular Migration in Europe – Doubts about the Effectiveness of Control Strategies

Amongst the general public and politicians, irregular immigration to Europe is associated with a large number of fears: that countries are losing control over their borders, that social systems are overstretched by unauthorised use, that indigenous workers are being pushed out of the labour market, and that criminality is growing. As a result, controlling irregular migration is one of the priorities of the European Union´s migration policy.
This dossier argues that the European Commission recommends extensive measures to control irregular immigration although there are justifiable doubts about the efficiency and effectiveness of these measures. On the basis of current research, we first provide a brief overview of the phenomenon as well as policy developments in selected member states. Against this background, we show that measures to control irregular migration play a central role in European migration policy. We then present a current European Commission proposal for a directive to tighten up employer sanctions, giving examples to reveal how the investment of finances and personnel in migration control is taking place without sufficient information about its efficiency, effectiveness and impact. There is an urgent need to evaluate migration control at a European and national level. (Published: 2/2008)

Demonstration für die Rechte illegaler Einwanderer unter dem Eiffelturm in Paris.

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus


The "Global Commission on International Migration" has pointed to the fact that a considerable proportion of today's roughly 200 million global migrants do not possess regular residence status. Irregular immigration to Europe is associated with a large number of fears. Weiter...

Ein Boot voller geretteter Flüchtlinge vor Tripolis, Libyen. Mehrere Boote mit afrikanischen Flüchtlingen kenterten im März 2009 auf dem Weg nach Europa von Tripolis. Libysche Rettungskräfte bargen 100 Leichen.

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus

Irregular migration: what is known about the phenomenon

The state of research into irregular migration has improved in recent years, thanks above all to a number of smaller studies. There are still considerable gaps. It is possible to derive the following key data about this form of migration. Weiter...

Internierungslager für Flüchtlinge nördlich von Athen.

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus

Political approaches to illegal residence among member states of the European Union

Among EU member states, migration policy is increasingly framed by guidelines at the European level. Before addressing current European initiatives on migration control, it is necessary to clarify the ways in which individual member states currently deal with illegal residence. Weiter...

Eine Gruppe illegaler Einwanderer aus dem Senegal auf dem Weg nach Nordafrika.

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus

Controlling illegal immigration and illegal residence at the European level

The total approach to migration decided upon by the European Commission in December 2005 aims at a coherent policy that concerns the most varied aspects of migration policy and touches upon associated areas of policy. Weiter...

Eine Mitarbeiterin bereitet in der Mensa-Küche der Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main Campus Westend Salate vor

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus

A current proposal for tightening up sanctions against employers

In May 2007 the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive containing a Europe-wide regulation for penalising employers who give undeclared employment to irregular migrants from third countries. The proposal has been presented to the Council and Parliament. Weiter...

Afrikanische Migranten arbeiten auf einer Orangenplantage in Italien.

Dita Vogel, Norbert Cyrus

How effective is the proposed directive?

To stimulate discussion, some considerations are put forward at this point for evaluating the directive proposal, without addressing analyses and discussions that have already taken place. Extended obligations: The fact that private and commercial employers are to examine residence documents. Weiter...

Irregular Migration


In response to pressure from Ministers of the Interior from certain member states, the European Union is investing considerably in expanding border controls and plans to extend labour market inspections within the EU. Weiter...

Irregular Migration

References and further reading

Here you can find a list of references as well as further reading for the Policy Brief "Irregular Migration in Europe – Doubts about the Effectiveness of Control Strategies" by Dita Vogel and Norbert Cyrus. Weiter...




Teaserbild Newsletter Migration und Bevölkerung

Kurzdossiers und Länderprofile focus migration abonnieren

Hier können Sie Kurzdossiers und Länderprofile von focus migration abonnieren. Weiter... 


Zahlen zu Asyl in Deutschland

Wie viele Menschen suchen in Deutschland Asyl? Woher kommen sie? Wie viele Asylanträge sind erfolgreich? Und wie viele Menschen werden abgeschoben? Wir stellen die wichtigsten Zahlen zum Thema Asyl und Flucht monatlich aktualisiert in einfachen Infografiken dar. Weiter...