Most European states are characterized by a lack of a realistic migration policy, a restrictive asylum procedure, an inability to deal with asylum applications within a reasonable time and a failing return policy. By embracing the possibility of conducting a regularisation campaign, governments may address this situation and assume its responsibility to restore order and to do justice to all its residents.
With the French presidency of the European Union (July-December 2008), regularisation has been brought to the fore, first with the Returns Directive and then with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (EPIA). The final draft of the EPIA aims to restrict mass regularisation of undocumented migrants, to 'strengthen' EU border controls and to coordinate procedures for repatriating undocumented migrants.
Despite disputes over a common asylum policy and other contentious elements, such as an 'integration contract' for new immigrants, the proposal of a regularisation ban has been dropped due to objections from such countries as Spain. Regularisation will likely continue to be a controversial issue, and PICUM urges governments and the European Union alike to consider the human rights of migrants above all other factors when contemplating the implementation of regularisation programmes.
For more information, please see the following documents: