Regularisation programmes for irregular migrants
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 11550
| 28 March 2008
- Committee of Ministers
by the Committee of Ministers on 12 March 2008, at the 1021st meeting
of the Ministers’ Deputies.
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 1807
The Committee of
Ministers has examined with interest Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1807 (2007)
on regularisation programmes for irregular migrants.
It transmitted the recommendation to member states and to the European
Committee on Migration (CDMG). The comments received from the CDMG
are appended to this reply.
2 The Committee of Ministers shares the concerns of the Assembly
with regard to the rising numbers of irregular migrants, as well
as the related causes and implications. It reaffirms the position
outlined in the Action Plan adopted by the 3rd Summit of Heads of
State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, May 2005)
in this sector. The Council of Europe continues its efforts in developing
and implementing policies on migration and the integration of migrants
that are founded on the principles of human rights, democracy and the
rule of law, with a view to ensuring orderly migration, social cohesion
and the respect of the individual.
The Committee of Ministers is aware that irregular migrants
are often vulnerable, exploited and deprived of access to fundamental
rights, including social rights and can be subject to social exclusion.
It refers to its reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1755 (2006)
on human rights of irregular migrants in which it draws
attention to the minimum safeguards of civil and political rights
provided for in the European Convention on Human Rights that can
be applied to irregular migrants. In this respect, it also recalls
its Recommendation No. R (2000) 3 to member states on the right
to satisfaction of basic material needs of persons in situations
of extreme hardship, which provides a minimum threshold of rights
that should be recognised whatever their status.
4 As has been pointed out by the Parliamentary Assembly, regularisation
programmes that have been carried out in the past have not been
uniform and have been established in the light of the specific situation
of each country concerned. The Committee of Ministers regards the
question of regularisation programmes as something to be examined
primarily in the framework of national migration policies, which
take account of the particular economic, social and political situation,
and history, of the state in question. However, in the light of the
obvious transnational nature of migration and the collective responsibility
which falls upon states on the European continent to find effective
and coherent migration policies, the Committee of Ministers considers bilateral
and multilateral co-operation on a regional basis highly desirable,
including through the work of the Council of Europe.
5 In this context, and with regard to the specific recommendations
of the Assembly, the Committee of Ministers recognises that more
research in the fields of irregular migrants and regularisation
programmes or return programmes could be beneficial to the relevant
authorities of member states. It has therefore taken note with interest
of the Assembly’s recommendations and of the readiness of the European
Committee on Migration to make proposals on a possible future activity
on irregular migrants and regularisation programmes in its project
proposals for 2009-12. The Committee of Ministers will examine these
proposals in due course. It draws the Parliamentary Assembly’s attention
to the fact that some research on national policies relating to irregular
migration is already being carried out by the CDMG (see appendix,
6 Similarly, the Committee of Ministers also draws the Assembly’s
attention to the report of the High-Level Task Force on Social Cohesion
in the 21st Century, entitled “Towards an active, fair and socially
cohesive Europe”. The task force considers that the distinction
between legal and illegal migration is among the issues that remain
as being in need of sustained policy attention, particularly with
regard to the rights and treatment of undocumented migrants. The
Committee of Ministers is currently examining the report with a
view to deciding on the appropriate follow-up to be given.
7 Finally, the Committee of Ministers, with a view to promoting
the use of the tools already available on the international level
to further protect the growing numbers of migrant populations, and
curb the influx of irregular migrants, invites those member states
who have not yet done so to consider ratifying the Council of Europe Convention
on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the United Nations
Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air,
supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational
Organised Crime as well as the European Convention on the Legal
Status of Migrant Workers and the International Convention on the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
Appendix – Comments of the Bureau of the
European Committee on Migration (CDMG) on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1807 (2007) on regularisation programmes for irregular migrants
a The European
Committee on Migration welcomes the attention of the Parliamentary
Assembly to the vulnerable situation of a large number of irregular
migrants in the member states of the Council of Europe.
b The CDMG wishes to remind the Committee of Ministers that
it has devoted, and continues to devote, in its work, attention
to the situation of irregular migrants and their human rights and
dignity. It prepared and published, for example, a report on access
of irregular migrants to minimum social rights in 2005. This report
touched upon some of the issues that relate to the regularisation
of irregular migrants and regularisation processes. In 2007, it
completed a series of studies on national policies concerning irregular
migrants in Armenia, Germany, Greece, Italy and the Russian Federation.
A second series of national reports will be commenced in 2008 (provided
there is agreement on the part of the member states concerned).
One or more reports in this second series may include an evaluation
of national regularisation programmes.
The CDMG informs the Committee of Ministers that Recommendation 1807 (2007)
was presented to it at its last meeting (October 2007)
by the Vice-Chairperson of the SubCommittee on Migration of the Parliamentary
Assembly Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population. On this
occasion, it was agreed to include proposals for a possible future
activity on irregular migrants and regularisation programmes in
the current preparation by the committee of project proposals for
2009-12. These project proposals will be completed by the CDMG at
its meeting in April 2008 and submitted to the Committee of Ministers.