Poland's Forward Thinking: Documenting the Undocumented

The Polish government are documenting undocumented migrants. This policy applies to undocumented immigrants who have uninterruptedly resided in Poland since at least 20 December 2007 and to asylum seekers who were denied refugee status before 1 January 2010.

The documents provide for 2 years residence including a right to work. Legalising the immigrants' stay will benefit the Polish economy by turning them into taxpayers, said a pragmatic and realistic Rafal Rogala, Head of the Immigration Office in the Ministry of Interior.

A very realistic and, in the current economic climate, beneficial approach to all. It's a shame other countries do not follow this approach.

Undocumented migrants keep on facing obstacles to access basic rights and justice

The European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published a new report entitled “Fundamental rights of migrants in an irregular situation in the European Union which argues that, “while EU Member States have a right to control immigration, non-compliance with migration regulations cannot deprive migrants in an irregular situation of certain basic rights to which they are entitled as human beings”.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum said, “We employ irregular migrants as cheap domestic workers to clean our homes. We eat the fruits and vegetables that they pick. But despite their contribution to our societies, when irregular migrants try to access healthcare or education services, or try to seek justice in case of abuse, they often face a closed door or, worse, deportation. Human rights belong to all human beings. And we remain human beings even if we do not have a passport, or a visa or a residence permit.”

A recent course by given by
Raza Husain QC at Matrix Chambers explained how EEA law may be relied upon to safeguard those rights.

European countries commit to take 300 refugees from Malta and 700 from North Africa

European countries pledged to relocate about 300 people from Malta, and to resettle about 700 people coming from Libya, Commissioner Malmstrom said. The commitment were made at a Pledging Conference on Relocation and Resettlement held in the margins of the Justice and Home Affairs extraordinary Council.

Pledges were reportedly made by Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hungary, Denmark, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

The UK Government decided not to accept any refugees who had managed to cross the Mediterranean fleeing turmoil in Libya. The Home Secretary said that the UK would not join the“burden sharing” scheme. This has been further confirmed by the deputy PM, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who, in contradiction to his comments detailed in our blog post found here, backed the decision not to open the borders. He said we would instead provide practical support directly in Italy. In a direct comparison, Ireland's Minister of State for Equality Kathleen Lynch said, “We believe it's a very good and worthwhile gesture in the circumstances. There are other countries with far greater resources than us who will be taking less.” A leading example from Ireland who are able to offer help despite their perilous economic position.

More when we have it.

Battle for the Soul of Europe

The free movement of people in Europe is underwritten by the Schengen Agreement, but EU governments are increasingly moving back towards immigration checks between their countries.

The removal of unfettered travel across the continent will be a blow to one of the cornerstones of a united, integrated Europe.

According to reports it is being pushed primarily by France and Italy, but supported by 15 of the 22 EU states signed up to Schengen.

What has triggered the attack on the Schengen Agreement is fear of another wave of Muslim immigrants from north Africa. But what it has done was to raise the profile of the populist right parties slowly developing in many EU countries.

Passenger Name Records

The Immigration Minister made a statement in the House of Commons on 11 May 2011 to confirm that the Government has decided to opt into the EU Directive on Passenger Name Records.

The justification for doing so was to assist law enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, and investigate terrorist and other criminal activities.

This means that passenger data collected by air carriers as part of the operation of their business will be collected and monitored by EU governments. Air carriers will not be required to collect any more data than they already collect as part of an ordinary business transaction.

The data...

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A8 Nationals and the Worker Registration Scheme

The UK Border Agency scheme to restrict work for A8 (Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak, and Slovenian) nationals ended on 01 May 2011. After 1 May 2011, A8 nationals will not be required to apply for an EEA Registration Certificate to confirm their right of residence. It will be open to A8 nationals, in the same way as other EU nationals, to ... Read More...