• The Criminalisation of Irregular Migrants

      Mitsilegas, Valsamis; Holiday, Yewa; Queen Mary University of London; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-07-03)
      The criminalisation of irregular migrants – in relation to irregular entry, residence, and work – is considered against the 1975 and 1990 ILO Migrant Workers Conventions (MWC); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR); the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); and the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime 2000, including its Protocols to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (‘the Trafficking Protocol’) and against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (‘the Smuggling Protocol’). The creation of laws, which are generally applied only to foreigners – concerning irregular entry, residence, and work – increases costs and exposure to adverse labour conditions and social vulnerabilities, and also impedes access to justice. The possibilities of criminal conviction, resulting in fines, imprisonment and expulsion contribute to a precarious class of low-skilled migrant. The chapter argues that the criminalisation of migration exacerbates the migrant premium because it decreases income while increasing dependency on employers, smugglers and traffickers and complicates access to human rights protection. The chapter suggests that one of the policy propositions for the Global Compact should be an understanding of how the emphasis internationally, regionally and nationally on smuggling and trafficking and border control has resulted in the criminalisation of irregular migrants – both potential and actual - for the ways in which they enter, leave, reside and work in a country; and that migrants need to be able to manage their working needs in a flexible manner.