Fabian Demicoli

Plans for employment of illegal immigrants

 A draft directive which was discussed during the Internal Affairs Council, introduces criminal penalties in cases involving the employment of illegal third country nationals. The Member States (MS) have expressed mixed views over the minimum harmonisation of criminal penalties and the inspections to be carried out in various sectors of activity.

Employers should be obliged to make the necessary checks prior to recruiting third, while MS should effect a minimum number of inspections on companies. This ensures that the EU is not seen as a source for illegal workers or as a haven for their exploitation. Following the adoption of the "returns" directive, the first part of the action against illegal immigration has already been dealt with, while the sequential adoption of the "penalties directive" would spur other MS to take further action against the problem of illegal immigration.

EU Commissioner on Immigration Jacques Barrot has proposed that a set of minimum penalties be imposed on employers hiring illegal workers. Malta, understandably, is among those southern EU countries which support the Presidency's compromise.

On the other hand, The Netherlands and Lithuania agree that the employment of illegal immigrants should be seen as a criminal offence, while effective checks in those companies most likely to employ illegal immigrants will be put into effect.

The debate focused on the importance of effective measures and on how these should be implemented intelligently, as well as on the link between the principle of subsidiarity and the sanctions set out by the proposed directive.

Source: Focus by MEUSAC

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