Recommendation 1807 (2007)1

Regularisation programmes for irregular migrants


1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1568 (2007) on regularisation programmes for irregular migrants.

2. The Assembly is deeply concerned by the large number of irregular migrants living in Europe and recognises that many of these persons will never return to their countries of origin.

3. It notes that over the past twenty-five years in the European Union alone, 4 million persons have had their situation regularised through one programme or another.

4. The Assembly recognises that regularisation programmes offer the possibility for safeguarding the rights of irregular migrants who are often in a particularly vulnerable situation. They also offer the possibility for member states to tackle the underground economy and ensure that social contributions and taxes are paid. However, the Assembly also recognises that there are concerns about regularisation programmes, particularly in that they may create a pull effect for further irregular migration.

5. The Assembly considers that urgent analysis of past experiences in implementing regularisation programmes in Europe is required and that lessons need to be learned and recommendations made to member states which may be considering carrying out regularisation programmes. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers instruct the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) to:

5.1. collect and analyse information on the number of irregular migrants living in Council of Europe member states as well as information on the number of irregular migrants entering Council of Europe member states annually;

5.2. collect and analyse information on the effectiveness of return programmes, including information on the number of irregular migrants returned by member states of the Council of Europe;

5.3. carry out an analysis of member states’ experiences in carrying out regularisation programmes with a view to formulating guidelines or a recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on organising regularisation programmes for irregular migrants;

5.4. organise a major hearing on the issue of regularisation programmes involving not only government departments but also representatives of irregular migrants, civil society, trade unions and employer organisations.


1. Assembly debate on 1 October 2007 (29th Sitting) (see Doc. 11350, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, rapporteur: Mr Greenway). Text adopted by the Assembly on 1 October 2007 (29th Sitting).