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Conditions of irregular migrants in Europe


Irregular arrivals to the EU have been significant in the past years, often in the context of mixed migration, including significant numbers of asylum seekers. Adding to existing populations of irregular migrants, many are not granted asylum, and as return rates also remain low, it is evident that a sizeable number of migrants remain in irregular status in the EU. This is problematic for the migrants, who are easily exploitable due to their status. This is also problematic for the host country, as irregular migrants participate in the black labour market and largely remain outside of integration pathways. In some cases, this exploitation also applies to intra EU mobile citizens.

Proposals should analyse the conditions of irregular migrants in the EU Member States and Associated Countries, and, where relevant, of intra EU mobile citizens in informal or exploitative conditions. Attention should be paid to conditions for access to basic services and rights, as well as their activities and participation in (informal) labour markets. In analysing the activities and work of irregular migrants (and where relevant of intra EU mobile citizens), proposals should also analyse the reliance of particular sectors of the economy on this irregular workforce, revealing its causes and consequences. Research should include a focus on gender issues, and may also analyse the consequences of irregularity for family members with different status in households. It should develop comparative analyses across the EU Member States and Associated Countries as regards these conditions and activities. Proposals may also include an analyses of legislative frameworks aimed to protect the rights of irregular migrants and/or sanction exploitative employers, as well as their implementation, e.g. migrants’ access to protection.

Proposals may also consider the role of host communities vis-à-vis the presence and needs of irregular migrants living without access to basic rights. They should provide options for enhancing the protection of migrants and those providing assistance to them. These analyses could be enhanced by including a focus on the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on irregular migrants, their employers and/or those providing assistance to them.