Category Archives: Free Movement of Persons, Asylum and Immigration

The free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed to European Union (EU) citizens by the Treaties. It is realised through the area of freedom, security and justice without internal borders. Lifting internal borders requires strengthened management of the Union’s external borders as well as regulated entry and residence of non-EU nationals, including through a common asylum and immigration policy.
The concept of free movement of persons came about with the signing of the Schengen Agreement in 1985 and the subsequent Schengen Convention in 1990, which initiated the abolition of border controls between participating countries. Being part of the EU legal and institutional framework, Schengen cooperation has gradually been extended to include most EU Member States as well as some non-EU countries.

Second generation Schengen Information System – former 1st pillar regulation

Second generation Schengen Information System – former 1st pillar regulation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Second generation Schengen Information System – former 1st pillar regulation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) – former 1st pillar regulation

The SIS II Regulation lays down the technical aspects and the operation of SIS II, the conditions for issuing alerts on refusal of entry or stay for non-EU nationals, the processing of data relating to alerts, and conditions of data access and protection. It constitutes the legislative basis for governing SIS II with respect to matters falling under Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community (former first pillar).

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the establishment, operation and use of the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II).

Summary

The second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) will be a large-scale information system containing alerts * on persons and objects. It will be used by border guards, customs officers, visa- and law-enforcement authorities throughout the Schengen area, with a view to ensuring a high level of security. This new system is currently undergoing extensive testing in close cooperation with European Union (EU) countries and associated countries participating in the Schengen area (referred to below as the Member States *) and will replace the current system, providing enhanced functionalities.

The SIS II Regulation constitutes the necessary legislative basis for governing SIS II with respect to alert procedures falling under Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community (former first pillar). It is supplemented by a decision relating to procedures falling under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union (former third pillar).

Technical architecture and ways of operating SIS II

SIS II will be composed of:

  • a central system (“Central SIS II”);
  • a national system (the “N.SIS II”) in each Member State (the national data systems that will communicate with the Central SIS II);
  • a communication infrastructure between the central system and the national systems providing an encrypted virtual network dedicated to SIS II data and the exchange of data between the authorities responsible for the exchange of all supplementary information * (SIRENE Bureaux).

SIS II data will be entered, updated, deleted and searched via the various national systems. The central system, which will perform technical supervision and administration functions, is located in Strasbourg (France). It will provide the necessary services for the entry and processing of SIS II data. A backup central system, capable of ensuring all functionalities of the principal central system in the event of failure of this system, is located near Salzburg (Austria). Each Member State will be responsible for setting up, operating and maintaining its own national system and for connecting it to the central system. It designates an authority, the national SIS II office (N.SIS II office), which has central responsibility for its national SIS II project. This authority will be responsible for the smooth operation and security of its national system.

Each Member State designates its SIRENE Bureau. Supplementary information relating to SIS II alerts will be exchanged in accordance with the provisions of the “SIRENE Manual” and by using the communication infrastructure. Member States will keep a reference to the decisions giving rise to an alert at the SIRENE Bureau.

Member States will be liable for any damage caused to a person through the use of the national SIS II systems. They will also ensure that any potential misuse of data entered in SIS II or any exchange of supplementary information contrary to this regulation will be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.

Operational management of the Central SIS II will consist of all the necessary tasks for keeping it running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in accordance with this regulation.

After a transitional period, a management authority, funded from the general budget of the EU, shall be responsible for the operational management of the Central SIS II and for a number of tasks relating to the communication infrastructure (supervision, security and coordination of relations between Member States and the provider). The Commission will be responsible for all other tasks relating to the communication infrastructure.

During a transitional period before the management authority takes up its responsibilities, the Commission shall be responsible for the operational management of Central SIS II. In accordance with the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities, the Commission may delegate the operational management and tasks relating to implementation of the budget to national public-sector bodies in two different countries that meet the specific criteria outlined in Article 15, paragraph 4 of the SIS II Regulation.

The regulation contains provisions to ensure adequate protection of personal data. In cooperation with the national supervisory authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Commission will accompany the start of the operation of SIS II with an information campaign informing the public about the objectives, the data stored, the authorities having access and the rights of individuals.

Alerts issued in respect of non-EU nationals for the purpose of refusing entry and stay

SIS II will only contain those categories of data supplied by each of the Member States, which are necessary for alerts for refusing entry or stay. Once the system is operational and alerts are included in it, the SIS II will only be possible to store the following information on persons for whom an alert has been issued: surname(s) and forename(s), name(s) at birth, aliases, specific physical characteristics, place and date of birth, sex, photographs, fingerprints, nationality(ies), whether the person concerned is armed, violent or has escaped, reason for the alert, authority issuing the alert, a reference to the decision giving rise to the alert and link(s) to other alerts issued in SIS II. It will also include the action to be taken in the event that there is a “hit” (i.e. if a competent national authority finds an alert in SIS II concerning a non-EU national on whom they have carried out a check). Should a Member State be unable to perform the requested action after obtaining a hit in SIS II, it will immediately inform the Member State that issued the alert.

Photographs and fingerprints will be used to confirm the identity of a non-EU national who has been located as a result of an alphanumeric search made in SIS II. As soon as this becomes technically possible, fingerprints may also be used to allow identification of a non-EU national on the basis of his/her biometric identifier. Before this functionality is implemented in SIS II, the Commission will present a report on the availability and readiness of the required technology.

Data on non-EU nationals, for whom an alert has been issued for refusing entry or stay, will be entered on the basis of a national alert based on a decision by the competent courts and administrative authorities taken on the basis of an individual assessment. An alert will be entered where the decision is based on a threat to public policy, to public security or to national security, which the presence of the non-EU national in question in the territory of a Member State may pose. It will also be possible to enter an alert when the decision is based on the fact that the non-EU national has been subject to a measure involving expulsion.

Access to and processing of data in SIS II

Authorities responsible for border control and other police and customs checks within the Member State concerned will have a right to access alerts. By extension, it will also be possible for national judicial authorities to access the system for the performance of their tasks. In any case, users will only be able to access data that is required for the performance of their tasks.

Before issuing an alert, Member States will determine whether the case is relevant enough to warrant the entry of the alert in SIS II. These alerts will only be kept for the time required to achieve the purposes for which they were entered. A Member State issuing an alert shall review the need to keep it within three years of its entry in SIS II.

It will only be possible to copy data for technical purposes. Such copies, which lead to off-line databases, may be retained for no more than 48 hours. It will not be possible to use data for administrative purposes.

A Member State issuing an alert will be responsible for ensuring that the data are accurate, up-to-date and lawfully entered in SIS II. Only the Member State issuing an alert will be authorised to modify, add to, correct, update or delete data that it has entered. If a Member State other than that issuing an alert obtains evidence suggesting that an item of data is incorrect, it will inform the Member State that issued the alert as soon as possible. The Member State that issued the alert will check the communication and, if necessary, correct or delete the item in question without delay. If the Member States are unable to reach an agreement within two months, the Member State that did not issue the alert will submit the matter to the European Data Protection Supervisor who will act as a mediator, jointly with the national supervisory authorities concerned.

It will be possible for a Member State to create a link between alerts it enters in SIS II, but this should only be done when there is a clear operational need.

Data processed in SIS II will not be transferred or made available to non-EU countries or to international organisations.

Data protection

Processing of sensitive categories of data (personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or trade-union membership and data concerning health or sex life) will be prohibited.

Any person will have the right to request access to data relating to him/her (personal data *) that has been entered in SIS II, and to have factually inaccurate personal data corrected or unlawfully stored personal data deleted.

Information may not be communicated to the data subject if this is indispensable for the performance of a task in connection with an alert or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of third parties. Regarding the exercise of their rights of correction and deletion, individuals will be informed about the follow-up as soon as possible, and in any event no later than three months from the date of their application for correction or deletion.

It will be possible for any person to bring an action before the competent courts or authorities to access, correct, delete, or obtain information or compensation in connection with an alert relating to him/her.

The authority or authorities designated in each Member State, endowed with the powers referred to in Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, will independently monitor the lawfulness of the processing of SIS II personal data on their territory and the transmission of this data from their territory. They will ensure that an audit of the data-processing operations in the N.SIS II is carried out at least every four years.

The European Data Protection Supervisor will check that the personal data-processing activities of the management authority are carried out in accordance with this regulation. S/he will also ensure that an audit of the personal data-processing activities is carried out at least every four years. A report of this audit will be sent to the European Parliament, the Council, the management authority, the Commission and the national supervisory authorities.

The national supervisory authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor cooperate actively. They exchange relevant information, assist one another and meet at least twice a year.

Final provisions

The regulation will apply to the Member States participating in the current Schengen Information System (SIS 1+) from the date to be set by the Council (acting by unanimity of its members representing the governments of the Member States participating in SIS 1+) once all necessary technical preparations for SIS II have been completed at central and Member State level and once all implementing measures have been adopted. Precise information on this matter is given in Article 55 of the regulation and in the legal instruments governing migration from SIS 1+ to SIS II.

Three years after the SIS II is brought into operation, and then every four years, the Commission will produce an overall evaluation of the Central SIS II and the bilateral and multilateral exchanges of supplementary information between Member States. It will transmit the evaluation to the European Parliament and the Council.

Key terms used in the act
  • Alert: a set of data entered in SIS II allowing the competent authorities to identify a person with a view to taking specific action.
  • Member States: EU countries and associated countries participating in the Schengen area. The United Kingdom and Ireland are not participating in aspects of SIS II falling under this regulation.
  • Supplementary information: information not stored in SIS II, but connected to SIS II alerts, which is to be exchanged, in order to allow Member States to consult or inform each other in the following cases: when entering an alert, following a hit in order to allow the appropriate action to be taken, when the required action cannot be taken, when dealing with the quality of SIS II data, when dealing with the compatibility and priority of alerts, when dealing with the right of access.
  • Additional data: data stored in SIS II and connected with SIS II alerts, which are to be made immediately available to the competent authorities of a Member State where a person in relation to whom data has been entered in SIS II is located as a result of searches made there.
  • Personal data: any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.
  • Processing of personal data: any operation or set of operations, which is performed upon personal data, whether or not by automatic means, such as: collection, recording, organisation, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, blocking, erasure or destruction.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation No 1987/2006/EC

17.1.2007

OJ L 381 of 28.12.2006

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2010/261/EU of 4 May 2010 on the Security Plan for Central SIS II and the Communication Infrastructure [Official Journal L 112 of 5.5.2010].
This decision provides for the organisation of the security of the Central SIS II and its communication infrastructure, and establishes a security plan for both. The purpose is to ensure protection against any threats to their availability, integrity and confidentiality. The Commission is responsible for implementing and monitoring the security measures for the communication infrastructure and, during the transitional period, for the Central SIS II. Once the management authority becomes operational, it must adopt its own security plan for the Central SIS II.
For monitoring the implementation of the security measures, the Commission designates a System Security Officer. A Local Security Officer is designated for the Central SIS II and for the communication infrastructure. They are responsible for implementing and monitoring the security measures and procedures in the principal CS-SIS, including the backup CS-SIS, and in the communication infrastructure respectively.
The System Security Officer, in cooperation with the Local Security Officers, prepares a security policy that provides detailed measures and procedures for protecting the Central SIS II and the communication infrastructure. Among others, the policy provides measures for controlling:

  • access to data processing facilities;
  • removable media containing data and any other important assets;
  • storage of data;
  • passwords;
  • access to SIS II hardware and software;
  • communications through the communication infrastructure.

It also lays down security measures in relation to human resources, defining for example the functions and responsibilities of staff that have access to the Central SIS II.

Commission Decision 2008/333/EC of 4 March 2008 adopting the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) [Official Journal L 123 of 08.05.2008].
The alerts in SIS II will contain a set of data that is absolutely necessary for identification of a person or object sought. In cases where the future end-users (officers from the competent national authorities) need to take action after obtaining a matching alert, they will require supplementary information on this alert (information that will not be contained in SIS II, but that will be connected to SIS II alerts).
National offices known as SIRENE Bureaux (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries) have been set up in all Schengen countries to assist with obtaining supplementary information for SIS by acting as the contact points between a Member State creating an alert and one achieving the match. The same offices will be used for SIS II.
The SIRENE Manual is a set of instructions indicating both the general and specific procedures that competent authorities will have to follow for exchanging supplementary information on the following categories of alerts:

  • alerts for refusal of entry or stay (first pillar);
  • alerts for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes (this and the following categories fall under the third pillar);
  • alerts on missing persons;
  • alerts sought for a judicial procedure;
  • alerts for discreet and specific checks;
  • alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence.

The purpose will be to assure communication among Member States, in particular when entering an alert, acting on an alert, handling multiple alerts, and dealing with the quality of SIS II data or with rights of access.
The implementing measures cover SIS II aspects that, due to their technical nature, level of detail and need for regular updating, are not covered exhaustively by the SIS II legal instruments.
As is the case for other instruments related to SIS II, there are two legal instruments (Commission decisions) for the SIRENE Manual and implementing measures: one for the first pillar (Annex of Decision 2008/333/JHA) and one for the third pillar (Annex of Decision 2008/334/JHA). The Annexes to both decisions are identical.

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Access of vehicle registration services to SIS II

As the regulation and decision concerning the establishment, operation and use of SIS II do not provide Member State vehicle registration services access to this system, an additional regulation has been adopted to this end.

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 regarding access to the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) by the services in the Member States responsible for issuing vehicle registration certificates.

Summary

Member States’ public services responsible for issuing registration certificates for vehicles referred to in Directive 1999/37/EC will have access to the following data in SIS II:

  • data concerning motor vehicles with a cylinder capacity exceeding 50 cc;
  • data concerning trailers with an unladen weight exceeding 750 kg and caravans;
  • data concerning vehicle registration certificates and vehicle number plates that have been stolen, misappropriated, lost or invalidated.

They will have access to this data solely for the purpose of checking that the vehicles presented to them for registration have not been stolen, misappropriated or lost and are not being sought as evidence in criminal proceedings.

Registration services that are not public services will only have access to the data in SIS II through one of the authorities referred to in Article 40 of the SIS II Decision. These authorities alone will have the right to access the data directly and transmit it to the service concerned.

The communication to the police or judicial authorities of any information contained in SIS II that raises suspicion of a criminal offence will be governed by national law.

Background

By virtue of Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents for vehicles, Member States are to assist one another and exchange information. In particular, before registering a vehicle, they should check the legal status of that vehicle in the Member State in which it was previously registered.

Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 and Decision 2007/533/JHA concerning the establishment, operation and use of SIS II (SIS II Regulation and Decision) replaced all but one article of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985. That article concerns access to the Schengen Information System by the authorities and services in the Member States responsible for issuing registration certificates for vehicles. This third act completes the SIS II legal framework, ensuring that Member States’ vehicle registration services will have access to SIS II once it is operational.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1986/2006

17.1.2006

OJ L 381 of 28.12.2006

Common framework for the integration of non-EU nationals

Common framework for the integration of non-EU nationals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common framework for the integration of non-EU nationals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Common framework for the integration of non-EU nationals

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 September 2005 – A Common Agenda for Integration – Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the European Union [COM(2005) 389 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The communication draws from European Union (EU) level developments in legal migration and the integration of non-EU nationals. It is a first step in the establishment of a coherent framework for integration, proposing concrete measures at EU and national level for putting the Common Basic Principles (CBPs) into practice.

Common Basic Principles (CBPs)

The concrete measures proposed in the communication aim to provide guidance for national and EU integration policies. Any of the actions EU countries choose to carry out must include a gender perspective and take account of the particular situation of young people.

“Integration is a dynamic, two-way process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents of EU countries.” The Commission proposes that at national level:

  • the ability of the host society to adjust to diversity is strengthened;
  • the role of private bodies in managing diversity is enhanced;
  • trust and good relations within neighbourhoods are promoted;
  • cooperation with the media is encouraged.

At the same time, transnational actions and projects to explore new forms of European cooperation should be supported at EU level.

“Integration implies respect for the basic values of the EU.” The Commission proposes emphasising civic orientation in introduction programmes at national level. At European level, the integration of non-EU nationals should be included in future programmes of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), while effective ways to raise public awareness about the basic values of the EU are explored.

“Employment is a key part of the integration process.” The Commission proposes that at national level:

  • labour-market discrimination is prevented;
  • social partners are involved in the elaboration and implementation of integration measures;
  • the recruitment of migrants is encouraged and migrant entrepreneurship is supported.

At European level, the Commission proposes:

  • monitoring the impact of national reform programmes on labour-market integration of immigrants;
  • encouraging EU countries to develop labour-market integration policies;
  • monitoring the application of the directives on discrimination in employment and on non-EU nationals who are long-term residents.

“Basic knowledge of the host society’s language, history and institutions is indispensable to integration.” At national level, the Commission proposes strengthening the integration component through pre-departure measures and organising introduction programmes that offer courses at several levels. At European level, transnational actions and innovative integration models should be supported.

“Efforts in education are critical to integration.” The Commission proposes that diversity be reflected in the school curriculum and that the specific problems of young immigrants, such as participation in higher education, be taken into account at national level. Actions at EU level should include the incorporation of integration objectives into educational programmes (Education and Training 2010) and the facilitation of transparent recognition of qualifications (European Qualifications Framework).

“Access for immigrants to institutions as well as to public and private goods and services in a non-discriminatory way is a critical foundation for better integration.” The Commission proposes the following national level actions:

  • strengthening the capacity of public and private service providers to interact with non-EU nationals;
  • introducing sustainable organisational structures for integration and schemes to gather and analyse information;
  • engaging companies in debates on integration;
  • integrating intercultural competence into recruitment and training policies.

At European level, the application of the directives on non-EU nationals who are long-term residents and on equal treatment should be monitored and studies and exchanges of best practices should be supported.

“Frequent interaction between immigrants and EU citizens is a fundamental mechanism for integration.” At national level, the Commission proposes that activities in which immigrants interact with the host society are promoted and that their living environment is improved. Simultaneously, at European level:

  • the integration dimension in social inclusion and social protection policies should be strengthened;
  • the exchange of information and good practice should be encouraged;
  • transnational cooperation at regional, local and municipal level between public authorities, private enterprises and civil society, including migrants’ associations, should be supported.

“The practice of diverse cultures and religions must be safeguarded.” The Commission proposes developing constructive intercultural dialogue and public discourse and promoting inter- and intra-faith dialogue platforms at national level. At European level, it proposes facilitating intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and further developing dialogue with religious and humanist organisations.

“The participation of immigrants in the democratic process and in the formulation of integration policies supports their integration.” At national level, the Commission proposes that:

  • civic, cultural and political participation of non-EU nationals in the host society is increased;
  • dialogue and consultation with non-EU nationals is encouraged;
  • active citizenship is promoted;
  • national preparatory citizenship and naturalisation programmes are drawn up.

At EU level, it proposes that a study/mapping exercise of the rights and obligations of non-EU nationals in EU countries is initiated, the creation of a platform of migrants’ organisations is fostered and the value of developing a concept of civic citizenship is explored.

A coherent EU level approach

The Commission also proposes measures to encourage a more coherent European approach towards integration. At national level, this involves mainstreaming integration in all relevant policies and reinforcing the capacity to coordinate national integration strategies across different levels of government. At EU level, it entails the strengthening of the network of National Contact Points (NCPs) and the developing of cooperation among responsible institutions and services. It is also necessary to carry out national evaluations and to enhance the capacity to collect, analyse and disseminate national statistics related to integration. In addition, statistical tools and common indicators should be developed at European level. The European Migration Network should also be further developed.

The NCPs will continue to be central in monitoring the development of integration strategies across different policy fields as well as in ensuring that national and EU level activities are mutually reinforcing. They will also continue work on the Handbook on Integration (second edition planned for 2006), which will focus on housing and urban issues, access to health and social services, integration in the labour market and integration infrastructure, firmly incorporating the CBPs into the analysis. The Commission is planning to launch a tender for a web portal for European experiences on immigrant integration and will set up a European Integration Forum to promote the effective participation of stakeholders at EU level. The forum’s main functions will be consultation, exchange of expertise and drawing up recommendations to be published on the integration website. The Commission will continue to draw up an annual report on migration and integration as a means of monitoring the further development of integration policies in the EU.

Background

In 2002, the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council requested the establishment of NCPs on integration. In June 2003, the European Council confirmed that mandate and invited the Commission to present annual reports on migration and integration.

In its 2003 communication on immigration, integration and employment, the Commission set out a holistic approach to integration. In November 2004, the first edition of the Handbook on Integration for Policy Makers and Practitioners was published.

The Hague Programme, adopted by the European Council on 4 and 5 November 2004, underlined the need for greater coordination of national integration policies and EU initiatives in this field. On 19 November 2004, the JHA Council adopted CBPs to underpin a coherent European framework on integration of non-EU nationals.

Related Acts

European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on problems and prospects concerning European Citizenship [Official Journal C 137E of 27.5.2010].

European Parliament resolution of 26 September 2007 on the policy plan on legal immigration [Official Journal C 219E of 28.8.2008].

European Parliament resolution of 24 October 2006 on women’s immigration: the role and place of immigrant women in the European Union [Official Journal C 313E of 20.12.2006].

European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2006 on strategies and means for the integration of immigrants in the European Union [Official Journal C 303E of 13.12.2006].

Reports

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 September 2007 – Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration [COM(2007) 512 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This third annual report on migration and integration continues the monitoring process for the policies on admission and integration of non-EU nationals in the EU. It provides information on the establishment of the EU integration framework until June 2007. Mainstreaming integration becomes an integral part of policy making and implementation across a wide range of EU policies, and the communication announces the Commission’s commitment to present new initiatives aimed at further developing the EU framework. The report also provides specific information on the various dimensions of the integration process in EU countries for 2005 and the first half of 2006.

Commission Staff Working Document of 30 June 2006 – Second Annual Report on Migration and Integration [SEC(2006) 892– Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 July 2004 – First Annual Report on Migration and Integration [COM(2004) 508 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Facilitated Transit Document

Facilitated Transit Document

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Facilitated Transit Document

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) and Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 693/2003 of 14 April 2003 establishing a specific Facilitated Transit Document (FTD), a Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD) and amending the Common Consular Instructions and the Common Manual.

Summary

This Regulation establishes a Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) * and a Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD) * for the specific and direct transit by land of third country nationals who must necessarily cross the territory of one or more Member States of the European Union (EU) in order to travel between two parts of their own country which are not geographically contiguous.

Scope and validity

The FTD and the FRTD have the same value as transit visas and are territorially valid for the issuing Member State. The FTD is valid for a maximum period of up to three years and transit based on the FTD will not exceed 24 hours. The FRTD is valid for a maximum period of up to three months and transit based on the FRTD will not exceed six hours.

No FTD/FRTD can be affixed in a travel document that has expired or with a period of validity shorter than that of the FTD/FRTD.

Conditions and issuing procedure

In order to obtain an FTD/FRTD, the applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • possess a valid document, authorising them to cross external borders;
  • not be persons for whom an alert has been issued for the purposes of refusing entry;
  • not be considered to be a threat to public policy or the international relations of any of the Member States;
  • for the FTD, have valid reasons for frequent travelling between the two parts of the territory of their country.

The application for an FTD/FRTD is presented to the consular authorities of a Member State. This procedure provides for the submission of documentation demonstrating the need for frequent travel, such as documents concerning family links or social, economic or other motives.

The fee corresponding to the administrative costs of processing the application for an FTD is EUR 5. The FRTD is issued free of charge.

Issuing and refusal of the document

The FTD/FRTD are issued by the consular offices of the Member States and may not be issued at the border.

The procedures, and appeal in cases where the consular post of a Member State refuses to examine an application or issue an FTD/FRTD, are governed by national law of the respective Member State. If an FTD/FRTD is refused, the reason will be communicated to the applicant, where required by national law.

Penalties are imposed on the holder of the FTD/FRTD in case of misuse. Such penalties will be effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and include the possibility of cancelling or revoking the FTD/FRTD.

Final provisions

Member States deciding to issue the FTD and the FRTD will communicate this decision to the Council and the Commission and the latter will publish it in the Official Journal. If Member States decide to stop issuing the FTD and the FRTD they will communicate that decision to the Council and the Commission and the latter will publish it in the Official Journal.

The Commission will report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning of the FTD/FRTD scheme at the latest three years after the entry into force of the first decision taken by a Member State to issue FTD/FRTD.

Key terms used in the act
  • Facilitated Transit Document (FTD): a specific authorisation allowing for a facilitated transit, which may be issued by Member States for multiple entries by whatever means of land transport. The FTD will be issued in the form of uniform formats in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 694/2003.
  • Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD): a specific authorisation allowing for facilitated transit, which may be issued by Member States for a single entry and return by rail. The FRTD will be issued in the form of uniform formats in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 694/2003.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 693/2003

18.04.2003

L 99 of 17.4.2003

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 694/2003 of 14 April 2003 on uniform formats for Facilitated Transit Documents (FTD) and Facilitated Rail Transit Documents (FRTD) provided for in Regulation (EC) No 693/2003 [Official Journal L 99, 17.04.2003].
FTD/FRTD are produced in the form of a uniform format (sticker) and have the same value as transit visas. They conform to the specifications set out in Annexes I and II to the Regulation. Further technical specifications for FTD and FRTD are established relating to additional security requirements (including anti-forgery) and technical processes and rules for the filling in of the uniform FTD/FRTD. These specifications are not published.

Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures

Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/688/EC of 5 October 2006 on the establishment of a mutual information mechanism concerning Member States’ measures in the areas of asylum and immigration.

Summary

The mutual information mechanism (MIM) provides for exchanges of information between the Commission and European Union (EU) countries concerning national laws on asylum and immigration.

EU countries are required to transmit through a web-based network, and using the report form annexed to the decision, the measures they intend to take or have recently taken. Such information should be transmitted as soon as possible and at the latest when it becomes publicly available.

EU countries are required to communicate to the Commission and the other EU countries only measures that are likely to have a significant impact:

  • in other EU countries;
  • at the level of the EU as a whole.

The Commission is responsible for the development and management of the network. In setting up the network, it will make use of the existing technical platform of the trans-European telematic network for the exchange of information between EU country authorities (CIRCA). The network has a specific functionality that allows the Commission and EU countries to request from one or more countries additional information on measures communicated.

Any specific national measure notified in this way may give rise to an exchange of views between EU country experts and the Commission. In addition to these technical discussions, the Commission will prepare each year a report summarising the most relevant information transmitted by EU countries. The report will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for use as the basis of ministerial discussions on national asylum and immigration policies.

The Commission will evaluate the functioning of the mechanism two years after the entry into force of the decision and regularly thereafter.

Background

National measures in the areas of immigration and asylum are likely to have an impact on other EU countries. This is due to the absence of border checks in the Schengen area, the close economic and social relations between EU countries and the development of common visa, immigration and asylum policies.

The EU has been striving to draw up a common asylum and immigration policy since the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. Although a large number of common measures have already been taken in these areas at the EU level, the national authorities continue to play an important role, notably in the areas not yet covered by EU rules. They are constantly adopting new measures (e.g. important changes to asylum and immigration policies, setting quotas, large-scale regularisation measures or concluding readmission agreements) that may have implications for other EU countries or for the EU as a whole.

Therefore, this decision proposes the establishment of a formal information procedure between EU countries and the Commission, with the aim of improving the coordination of immigration and asylum policies between EU countries.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2006/688/EC

3.11.2006

OJ L 283 of 14.10.2006

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 17 December 2009 pursuant to Article 4 and 5 of the Council Decision of 5 October 2006 on the establishment of a mutual information mechanism concerning Member States’ measures in the areas of asylum and immigration [COM(2009) 687 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report contains a summary of the most relevant information transmitted by EU countries and an evaluation on the functioning of the MIM during its first operational period.
From the beginning of the MIM becoming operational in April 2007 until 30 September 2009, only 16 EU countries had transmitted information via the MIM on only 45 measures:

  • 21 on adopted legislation;
  • 4 on draft legislation;
  • 9 on policy intentions and long-term programming;
  • 7 on administrative decisions affecting a large group of non-EU country nationals or having a general nature;
  • 4 on other measures.

No communications were made on final decisions of the highest courts or tribunals.
The format in which the communications were made was rarely homogenous. The reporting form annexed to the decision was not always used, which resulted in the ineffective reception of information in that the essence of the measures or their impact remained unidentifiable. In addition to this, at times only the English title and the text in the original language were provided, resulting in problems of comprehension. There were also differences in the contents of the reporting forms submitted: some were fairly comprehensive, while others only provided a cursory description without indication of the nature of the measure.
The MIM cannot be deemed as fulfilling its objectives since the quantity of information submitted was nominal. The rate of information exchanges varied somewhat, reaching an all-time low in 2009 with only 4 communications.
Yet, there is no evidence that the unsatisfactory application of the decision is caused by its provisions. In addition, since the MIM has only been operational for a short period, the Commission does not yet consider it relevant to propose amendments to the decision.

Facilitating procedures for issuing visas for those taking part in sporting events

Facilitating procedures for issuing visas for those taking part in sporting events

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Facilitating procedures for issuing visas for those taking part in sporting events

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Facilitating procedures for issuing visas for those taking part in sporting events

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1295/2003 of 15 July 2003 relating to measures envisaged to facilitate the procedures for applying for and issuing visas for members of the Olympic family taking part in the 2004 Olympic or Paralympic Games in Athens.

Summary

The Regulation was not designed to abolish the visa requirement for members of the Olympic family who are subject to it by virtue of their nationality but to lay down measures for adoption by Greece to facilitate their entry into the Schengen area in order to take part in the 2004 Games in Athens.

The special procedure for applying for visas is incorporated into accreditation request procedure that members of the Olympic family have to comply with. This means that they do not have to present themselves in person at the consular services either to make the application or to receive the visa, which is formalised instead by the marking of a specific number in the Olympic Games accreditation card.

Organisations applying for the Olympic accreditation card * for the persons selected to take part in the Games may, at the same time submit a collective group application for visas as well.

The Organising Committee * sends the applications to the consular services as quickly as possible. The services then check that the persons in question:

  • have been accredited by the Organising Committee;
  • hold a passport;
  • have not been identified for non-admission in the Schengen Information System;
  • are not deemed liable to undermine public order.

Once compliance with these conditions has been checked, the services issue a uniform short-stay, multiple-entry visa authorising a stay of up to 90 days for the duration of the Games.

If the conditions are not met, the consular services may issue a visa with limited territorial validity.

The visa takes the form of two numbers entered on the Olympic accreditation card (visa number and passport number).

The visas are issued free of charge.

When members of the Olympic family cross the external borders of the Member States:

  • entry checks are limited to verifying compliance with the four conditions set out above;
  • the passports of all members (whether or not they are subject to a visa requirement) are stamped on entry and exit.

The Regulation also provides for the Commission to report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning of the derogation on the basis of a report transmitted by Greece after the Games with a view to the organisation of the Winter Olympics in Turin.

Background

To enable the Games to be organised, the Community must establish legislation facilitating the issue of visas to members of the Olympic family. The Regulation meets this requirement.

Greece is the first Member State to apply the Schengen acquis in its entirety for the organisation of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.


Key terms used in the act
  • Olympic accreditation cards: documents issued to members of the Olympic family authorising access to the facilities at which competitions are held for the duration of the Games; these cards are highly secure in order to avoid the occurrence of terrorist attacks;
  • Organising Committee: Committee responsible for organising the 2004 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation 1295/2003/EC 04.08.2003 03.01.2004 OJ. L 183 of 22.07.2003

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 2046/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 relating to measures envisaged to facilitate the procedures for applying for and issuing visas for members of the Olympic family taking part in the 2006 Olympic and/or Paralympic Winter Games in Turin [Official Journal L 334 of 22 December 2005].
This Regulation provides the Community with the necessary legislation to facilitate the issuing of visas in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. It takes over most of the arrangements and procedures that were applied for the 2004 Games in Athens.

 

Local border traffic at external land borders

Local border traffic at external land borders

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Local border traffic at external land borders

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Local border traffic at external land borders

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention.

Summary

Conditions of entry and stay

Local border traffic refers to the regular and frequent crossing for legitimate reasons of the European Union’s (EU) external border by nationals of neighbouring third countries resident in the border areas with the Union.

These border residents may cross the external land border * of a Member State provided that they are in possession of a permit delivered to facilitate such a crossing (and of a passport, if the Member State in question so requires), they are not persons in respect of whom the Schengen Information System (SIS) has been alerted and they are not deemed to be a threat to public order.

These persons are authorised to stay in the border area * for a maximum duration stipulated in the bilateral agreement between a Member State and the neighbouring third country. The stay must not exceed three months.

Permits

Border residents are given a permit limited to the border area which is valid for between one and five years.

The fees will be equivalent to those payable for a short-term multiple-entry visa. However, Member States may decide to reduce or even waive the fees.

Agreements on the implementation of the local border traffic regime

Member States may conclude agreements on local border traffic with neighbouring third countries. They may also maintain existing agreements provided they comply with this regulation. Furthermore, Member States must ensure that third countries apply the principle of reciprocity and grant comparable treatment to citizens of the EU wishing to travel to their border area.

These agreements can allow border residents to use:

  • border crossing points open only to border residents;
  • special lanes at ordinary border crossing points;
  • exceptional authorisations for border residents to cross the border outside authorised border crossing points and hours.

Member States must enforce effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in the event of misuse of the local border traffic regime. These may include cancelling or revoking the permit.

Context

This Regulation was drawn up in response to the plan for the management of external borders of the Member States of the European Union endorsed by the Seville European Council of 21 and 22 June 2002, which highlighted the need to adopt measures to regulate local border traffic.

Key terms used in the act
  • External land border: a common border between a Member State and a neighbouring third country.
  • Border area: an area that does not extend more than 30 kilometres from the border; the area may extend to 50 kilometres in exceptional circumstances.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006

19.1.2007

OJ L 405, 31.12.2006

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 as regards the inclusion of the Kaliningrad area and certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area [COM (2011) 461 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Codecision procedure (2011/0199/COD)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 9 February 2011 Second report on the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime set up by Regulation No 1931/2006 [COM(2011) 47 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Four years after the creation of the local border traffic regime, four bilateral agreements have entered into force (Hungary/Ukraine, Slovakia/Ukraine, Poland/Ukraine and Romania/Moldova). Only the latter agreement is entirely compliant with Regulation No 1931/2006. Three other agreements shall enter into force in 2011 (Poland/Belarus, Lithuania/Belarus and Norway/Russia) and several draft agreements have been the subject of consultations with the Commission. The Commission considers that the regime is functioning efficiently, but requests that the agreements which do not comply with the Regulation are amended. The Commission confirms the conclusions of its first report which noted stricter conditions in the agreements than those provided for by the Regulation. Information provided by the Member States concerned shows that border traffic permit holders use the permits very frequently, for stays ranging from a few hours to two days. The main difficulties highlighted concern the definition of the border area, the requirement for travel medical insurance (not provided for by the Regulation), and the Kaliningrad region (a Russian enclave within the EU).

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 24 July 2009 on the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States [COM(2009) 383 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Since the adoption of the above Regulation, only the following bilateral local border traffic agreements have entered into force: Hungary/Ukraine, Slovakia/Ukraine and Poland/Ukraine. A few other Member States have consulted the Commission on the following agreements: Lithuania/Belarus, Lithuania/Russian Federation, Latvia/Russian Federation, Poland/Belarus, Bulgaria/Serbia, Bulgaria/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania/Ukraine. Only one bilateral agreement existed before the adoption of the Regulation: Slovenia/Croatia. Consequently, it is still too early to evaluate the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime.
The Member States that have consulted the Commission have applied the facilitation measures provided by the Regulation to a varying extent, yet never in full and mostly with additional restrictions.

Community statistics on asylum and migration

Community statistics on asylum and migration

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community statistics on asylum and migration

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Community statistics on asylum and migration

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 311/76 on the compilation of statistics on foreign workers.

Summary

This regulation establishes common rules for the collection of Community statistics on migration by European Union (EU) countries. It concerns statistics relating to immigration * to and emigration * from an EU country, citizenship and country of birth of persons resident in the territories of EU countries, and administrative and judicial procedures relating to migration.

Statistics on migration, international protection, illegal immigration and returns

EU countries are required to provide Eurostat with statistics on the numbers of:

  • immigrants moving to their territories;
  • emigrants moving from their territories;
  • persons usually resident in their territories;
  • residence permits issued, including long-term residence permits;
  • natural persons having acquired national citizenship.

EU countries are also required to give the numbers of:

  • persons applying for international protection;
  • persons covered by applications under consideration by the national authorities;
  • applications rejected;
  • applications granting refugee, subsidiary protection and temporary protection statuses;
  • unaccompanied minors;
  • applications and transfers covered by the Dublin II Regulation;
  • persons selected for resettlement *.

In addition, EU countries must provide Eurostat with statistics on the numbers of non-EU country nationals who have been refused entry at their external borders and who have been found illegally present in their territories.

Furthermore, EU countries must provide statistics on the number of administrative or judicial decisions imposing an obligation to leave their territories, as well as on the number of non-EU country nationals who are returned to their countries of origin, countries of transit or other non-EU countries.

Provisions common to the different categories

The statistics are based on:

  • records of administrative and judicial actions;
  • registers relating to administrative actions and population registers;
  • censuses;
  • sample surveys.

As a rule, the statistics are disaggregated by age, sex and nationality. The Commission may adopt other disaggregations, such as the year in which the residence permit was granted for the first time (statistics on residence permits) or reason for refusal or arrest (statistics on illegal entry and immigration).

The Commission is assisted by the Statistical Programming Committee. It will submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the implementation of the regulation by 20 August 2012 at the latest (and then every three years).

Background

This regulation is in response to the conclusions of the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003, which asked for more effective mechanisms for collecting and analysing information on migration and asylum in the EU. The Commission had previously published an action plan laying down the objectives for developing statistics in this field.

Key terms used in the act
  • Immigration: the action by which a person establishes his or her residence in the territory of another EU or non-EU country for a period of at least twelve months;
  • Emigration: the action by which a person, having previously been resident in the territory of an EU country, changes his or her country of residence for a period of at least twelve months;
  • Resettlement: the transfer of non-EU country nationals to an EU country where they are permitted to reside for the purposes of international protection.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 862/2007

20.8.2007

OJ L 199 of 31.7.2007

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 351/2010 of 23 April 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics on migration and international protection as regards the definitions of the categories of the groups of country of birth, groups of country of previous usual residence, groups of country of next usual residence and groups of citizenship [Official Journal L 104 of 24.4.2010].
To ensure the comparability of statistics from EU countries and to allow the drawing up of reliable EU-wide overviews from these statistics, it is essential that all EU countries define certain categories of groups in the same manner. Consequently, this regulation establishes the categories of groups of:

  • country of birth;
  • country of previous usual residence;
  • next usual residence;
  • citizenship.

EU countries must transmit data to the Commission according to these groups, as listed in the annex to this regulation. The groups of countries and citizenship are divided into basic groups and additional groups of other non-EU countries and citizenship disaggregated by levels of development. The Commission provides lists of countries and citizenships for each basic and additional group.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 216/2010 of 15 March 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics on migration and international protection, as regards the definitions of categories of the reasons for the residence permits [Official Journal L 66 of 16.3.2010].
To harmonise the collection of statistics by EU countries, this regulation defines in its annex the categories of reasons for issuing residence permits to non-EU country nationals. The list includes categories of reasons relating to:

  • family formation and reunification;
  • education and study;
  • remunerated activities.

Framework programme on solidarity and management of migration flows for the period 2007-2013

Framework programme on solidarity and management of migration flows for the period 2007-2013

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework programme on solidarity and management of migration flows for the period 2007-2013

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Framework programme on solidarity and management of migration flows for the period 2007-2013

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament establishing a framework programme on solidarity and management of migration flows for the period 2007-2013 [COM(2005) 123 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The framework programme will establish financial solidarity mechanisms covering four areas:

  • controls and surveillance of external borders;
  • return of Non-EU Member Country nationals residing illegally in the EU;
  • integration of legally resident Non-EU Member Country nationals;
  • asylum.

The communication, which maps out the broad lines of the framework programme, is accompanied by four proposals that constitute the instruments setting up four funds corresponding to each of the four policy areas.

The overall amount envisaged for the framework programme “Solidarity and management of migratory flows” is EUR 5 866 million for the period 2007-2013. The following amounts will also be provided:

  • EUR 285.1 million for the FRONTEX Agency;
  • EUR 900 million for the implementation of large-scale information systems;
  • EUR 62.3 million for the setting up of a European Migration Observatory.

 

This proposal presses ahead with the implementation of the second stage of the ERF, which was launched by a decision of December 2004 and covers the period 2005-2010.

It sets out to harmonise the ERF schedule with those proposed for the other three instruments. Its duration is extended until 2013 and the new provisions will enter into force on 1 January 2008 so as to allow the multiannual programming cycle provided for by the decision of December 2004 to be applied in full. This will result in a third multiannual programme (2011-2013).

External Frontiers Fund

The Hague Programme underlines the need for a fair sharing of responsibility between Member States regarding the management and surveillance of external borders. This proposal is in response to this request and lays down four main policy objectives for burden sharing between the Member States and the European Union.

In order to express the notion of solidarity, the bulk of the allocations to the Member States would be determined on the basis of a distribution key defining the relative share of Member States.

European Integration Fund

This project follows on from pilot integration projects carried out in 2002. These initiatives, known as INTI, have proved very fruitful. This is the reason why the Commission launched the idea of a European Integration Fund at an interministerial conference on integration during the Dutch Presidency.

European Return Fund

In The Hague Programme the European Council called for the establishment of a European Return Fund. This proposal is in response to that request.

Background

The framework programme is designed to improve management of migratory flows at European Union level and to strengthen solidarity between Member States. It forms part of the Financial Perspective 2007-2013. Its objective is to ensure multiannual EU programming in different areas (integrated border management and asylum, integration and return policies).

The programme follows on from current programmes (such as the ERF), previous programmes (Argo and Odysseus) and preparatory actions (such as the INTI).

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/22/EC of 19 December 2007 laying down rules for the implementation of Decision No 573/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Refugee Fund for the period 2008 to 2013 as part of the General programme “Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows” as regards Member States’ management and control systems, the rules for administrative and financial management and the eligibility of expenditure on projects co-financed by the Fund [Official Journal L 17 of 10.1.2008]

This decision provides a whole range of additional information on the decisions establishing the European Refugee Fund, the External Borders Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Non-EU Member Country Nationals. It gives details relating to the implementation of these decisions, particularly as regards designated authorities, information to be provided by the Member States to the Commission, reporting of irregularities and personal data.

 

Immigration liaison officers' network

Immigration liaison officers’ network

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Immigration liaison officers’ network

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Immigration liaison officers’ network

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network [See amending act(s)].

Summary

Each Member State posts an immigration liaison officer (ILO) * to its consular authorities in a non-Member State. The ILO maintains direct contacts with the authorities in the host country in order to improve exchanges of information concerning:

  • flows of illegal immigrants originating from or transiting through the host country;
  • the routes followed by those flows of immigrants;
  • their modus operandi;
  • the existence of criminal organisations involved in the smuggling of immigrants;
  • the incidents that may be the cause for new developments with respect to these flows of immigrants;
  • the methods used for falsifying identity documents and travel documents;
  • how best to assist the authorities in host countries in preventing these immigration flows;
  • how best to facilitate the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin.

Member States inform one another, the Council and the Commission of their secondments of immigration liaison officers. This information is published on the secure web-based network for the coordination and exchange of information on irregular migration (ICONet).

ILO posted to the same country form a local network in which they:

  • exchange information and practical experience, specifically through regular meetings and via ICONet;
  • coordinate positions to be adopted in contacts with commercial carriers;
  • attend joint specialised training courses and organise training sessions for consular officers of Member States posted in the host country;
  • adopt common approaches as to methods of gathering information;
  • establish contact with similar networks established in the host country and neighbouring countries.

Meetings are held either at the initiative of the Member State holding the Council presidency or at the initiative of other Member States. Representatives of the European Commission and the Frontex agency participate in them, unless operational considerations require meetings to be held in their absence.

Member States may bilaterally or multilaterally agree that ILOs posted by a European Union (EU) country also look after the interests of one or more other Member States. They may also decide to share certain tasks among themselves.

At the end of each semester the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU draws up a report for the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the activities of the ILOs in the countries and regions of particular interest to the EU with regard to immigration. This report is drawn up in accordance with a model provided in Commission Decision 2005/687/EC. On the basis of this report, the Commission then drafts an annual summary of the development of the ILO networks.

Context

This Regulation follows on from the plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the EU, which envisages the setting up of networks of immigration liaison officers posted in non-Member States.

Following the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003 and drawing on experience gained in project management, such as the Belgian-led Western Balkans ILO network, the existence of the network was formally recognised through a legally binding act.

Key terms used in the act
  • Immigration liaison officer: a representative of a Member State posted abroad by the immigration service in order to establish and maintain contacts with the authorities of the host country with a view to contributing to the prevention of illegal immigration and combating this phenomenon.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 377/2004

5.10.2004

_

OJ L 316, 15.12.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 493/2011

16.6.2011

_

OJ L 141, 27.5.2011

Related Act

Council Decision 2005/267/EC of 16 March 2005 establishing a secure web-based Information and Coordination Network for Member States’ Migration Management Services [Official Journal L 83 of 1.4.2055].

The ICONet network enables Member States to exchange information quickly on illegal migration flows, irregular entry and immigration and the return of illegal residents. The aim is to combat irregular immigration and human trafficking more effectively.