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Ensuring social support and health protection for ‘invisible workers’

Illegal workers

The Social Affairs Committee estimates that there are around 4 to 5 million undocumented people in Europe, many of whom de facto participate in the labour market as “invisible workers” but remain very fragile socio-economically – with poor or no access to socio-economic rights.

By accepting the marginalisation of undocumented workers, “member States tolerate inequality of treatment, discrimination and vulnerability which carry the potential for abuse and exploitation of persons”, states the draft resolution adopted today, based on a report prepared by Ada Marra (Switzerland, SOC).

The adopted text recommends a series of good practices to member States, whether in the context of ad hoc programmes of regularisation or with regard to permanent mechanisms aimed at the better integration of “invisible workers”.

According to the committee, access to justice is a key element of the protection of undocumented or irregular workers, “which is not sufficiently guaranteed by member States. States should be encouraged to devise procedures that do not put the various courts in contact with the migration authorities, which constitutes the main subjective and objective obstacle to undocumented workers exercising their rights”.