Criminal sanctions for illegal employers?

28 January 2009

Criminal sanctions for illegal employers?

On 3rd February at its plenary session in Strasbourg the European Parliament will debate the report written by Italian social democrat Claudio Fava on sanctions to be applied to those who employ non-EU citizens who are within the EU illegally.


It is estimated that between 4.5- and 8 million migrants are working in the EU on an irregular basis. Often underpaid, uninsured and exploited by their employers, they live in continual fear of deportation to their own country. In addition, irregular work by undocumented migrants has disruptive effects on labour relations within the EU's member states, putting wages and working conditions under downward pressure.


"What I find disturbing is that the European Commission's intention with this measure is to reduce illegal migration, rather than to offer protection to exploited workers," says SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard. "The aim should surely be to hold employers responsible for their practices, not the workers."

Criminal law

"The eventual compromise that the rapporteur, the Italian social democrat Giovanni Claudio Fava has agreed with the EU Council of Ministers is absolutely awful," Liotard adds. "The proposal in its present form is repressive to migrant workers from outside the EU and offers them little in the way of protection." Despite wanting to see effective action, Liotard opposes the inclusion in the proposal of criminal sanctions for employers. "Criminal law is entirely a matter for the member states' national governments and the EU should not be interfering in an area for which it has no competence."

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