Immigration liaison officers’ network
Regulation (EU) 2019/1240 — creation of a European network of immigration liaison officers
EU migration policy aims to replace irregular and uncontrolled migration with migration that is safe and well-managed, through a comprehensive approach aimed at ensuring efficient migration management.
The regulation lays down rules aiming to ensure good cooperation, coordination and exchange of information among immigration liaison officers* deployed to non-EU countries by EU countries, the European Commission and EU agencies, through a European network of immigration liaison officers.
The regulation creates a European network of immigration liaison officers to assist in better migration management in order to meet the following EU priorities:
preventing and combating illegal immigration and related cross-border crime, such as migrant smuggling and human trafficking;
carrying out dignified and effective return*, readmission* and reintegration*;
managing legal immigration, including international protection, resettlement, admission procedures and pre-departure integration measures taken by EU countries and the EU.
Local or regional networks of immigration liaison officers
Immigration liaison officers, deployed to the same countries or regions, constitute local or regional cooperation networks. Where necessary and appropriate, they will:
share information and practical experience, including through regular meetings and a secure web-based information exchange platform;
share information regarding access to international protection;
coordinate positions on contacts with commercial carriers;
attend joint specialised training courses, including on fundamental rights, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, document fraud and access to international protection in non-EU countries;
organise information sessions and training courses for diplomatic and consular staff on missions in non-EU countries;
adopt common approaches on methods for collecting and reporting strategically relevant information, including risk analyses;
set up regular contacts with similar networks in the non-EU country and in neighbouring countries.
Tasks of immigration liaison officers
Liaison officers collect information, at operational or strategic level, or both, on:
the existence of criminal organisations involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking along migration routes;
the methods used to forge or falsify identity documents;
ways to facilitate return, readmission and reintegration;
measures to guarantee effective access to protection put in place by non-EU countries, including for the benefit of vulnerable persons;
existing and possible future legal immigration strategies and channels between the EU and non-EU countries.
Liaison officers can also provide assistance to authorities and other people involved in non-EU countries in the following areas:
establishing the identity and nationality of non-EU nationals and facilitating their return, and helping in reintegration;
identifying persons in need of international protection to facilitate resettlement in the EU, in particular by providing pre-departure information and support where possible;
confirming the identity of legal immigrants and facilitating national and EU measures for their admission;
sharing information within networks of liaison officers and with competent EU national authorities, including law enforcement, to prevent and detect illegal immigration and combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
Measures taken by immigration liaison officers, in particular in cases involving vulnerable people, should respect fundamental rights in accordance with relevant international and EU law, including Article 2 and Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
A Steering Board at EU level is set up to strengthen the management of the network and the coordination of immigration liaison officers, while respecting the existing chain of command and reporting lines between immigration liaison officers and their respective deploying authorities, and among immigration liaison officers themselves.
The Steering Board comprises one representative from each EU country, two from the Commission, and one each from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (also known as Frontex), Europol, and the European Asylum Support Office. Schengen-associated countries will appoint one representative each as members without voting rights.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It has applied since 14 August 2019. Regulation (EU) 2019/1240 revised and replaced Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 and its subsequent amendments.
European Agenda on Migration — Factsheets (European Commission).
Immigration liaison officer: an officer designated and deployed in a non-EU country, by the competent authorities of an EU country, or by the Commission or by an EU agency, in accordance with their respective laws, to deal with immigration-related issues, including when that is only a part of their duties.
Return: the movement of a person going from a host country back to a country of origin, country of nationality or habitual residence usually after spending a significant period of time in the host country whether voluntary or forced, assisted or spontaneous.
Readmission: act by a country accepting the re-entry of an individual (own national, a non-national of that country or a stateless person).
Reintegration: re-inclusion or re-incorporation of a person into a group or a process, e.g. of a migrant into the society of their country of return.
Regulation (EU) 2019/1240 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the creation of a European network of immigration liaison officers (recast) (OJ L 198, 25.7.2019, pp. 88-104)
Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624 (OJ L 295, 14.11.2019, pp. 1-131)
Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, pp. 1-76)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title I — Common provisions — Article 2 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 17)
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title I — Common provisions — Article 6 (ex Article 6 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 19)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — A European Agenda on Migration (COM(2015) 240 final, 13.5.2015)
Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur) (OJ L 295, 6.11.2013, pp. 11-26)
Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 60-95)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (COM(2011) 743 final, 18.11.2011)
Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, pp. 98-107)
Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network (OJ L 64, 2.3.2004, pp. 1-4)
Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures
Decision 2006/688/EC establishing a mutual information mechanism concerning EU countries’ measures in the areas of asylum and immigration
It aims to improve the sharing of information between EU countries concerning national asylum and immigration measures.
It sets up a formal information procedure between EU countries and the European Commission, with the aim of improving the coordination of immigration and asylum policies between EU countries.
Information sharing and transmission
The mutual information mechanism (MIM) permits the sharing of information between the Commission and EU countries concerning national laws on asylum and immigration.
EU countries are required to transmit the measures they intend to take or have recently taken:
through a web-based network; and
using the report form annexed to the decision.
This 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.
Development and management of the network
The Commission is responsible for developing and managing the network. In setting up the network, it was to make use of the existing technical platform of the trans-European telematic network for the exchange of information between EU country authorities (known as CIRCA). The network 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, each year, the Commission must prepare a report summarising the most relevant information transmitted by EU countries. This report is submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for use as the basis of ministerial discussions on national asylum and immigration policies.
The Commission published a report in 2009 evaluating the MIM’s operation. Between April 2007 and 30 September 2009, only 16 EU countries had transmitted information via the MIM on only 45 measures. No communications were made on final decisions of the highest courts or tribunals.
The format in which the communications were made was rarely homogeneous, with the reporting form annexed to the decision not always being used.
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 content of the reporting forms submitted: some were fairly comprehensive, while others only provided a cursory description without an indication of the nature of the measure.
The report concluded that MIM had not fulfilled its objectives since the quantity of information submitted was nominal. However, since it had only been operational for a short period, the Commission considered it premature to propose amendments to the decision.
The Mutual information mechanism for national asylum and immigration measures was not activated by either the Commission nor the EU countries, not even during the two years of the very high influx of migrants into Europe, in 2015 and 2016. Instead, the EU countries (European Union Presidencies) seemed to prefer to use the European Union crisis information mechanism to exchange data about migration flows. This request for information was then gradually taken over by the relevant European Union Agencies, EASO and FRONTEX, who today provide the bulk of the migration data needed for today’s migration flow. Further information about important developments in the migration field in EU countries is regularly updated through the European Migration Network’s news bulletins that are regularly produced each quarter.
Nonetheless, it cannot be excluded that the MIM mechanism may prove useful in future migration information exchanges between the EU countries and the European Commission and therefore its existence is still justifiable.
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.
For more information, see:
European Migration Network at the national level (European Commission).
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 (OJ L 283, 14.10.2006, pp. 40-43)
Report from the Commission pursuant to Article 4 and Article 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, 17.12.2009)
The European Migration Network
European Migration Network — Council Decision 2008/381/EC
It establishes the European Migration Network (EMN), which aims to give up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and asylum to the EU institutions, EU countries, and the general public.
— To achieve its objective, the EMN, in collaboration with other relevant EU bodies, collects and analyses data from a wide range of sources. It then produces reports and studies on the migration and asylum situation in the EU and its countries, which are shared on its information exchange system.
— The European Commission coordinates EMN work in cooperation with national contact points (EMN NCPs), which are appointed in each EU country and are responsible for developing a national network. Each EMN NCP is comprised of at least three asylum and migration experts covering the disciplines of policy-making, law, research and statistics.
— Other EMN NCP responsibilities include:
— attending EMN meetings in order to exchange data and views and provide input for the development of a work programme;
— preparing national reports and providing information via the information exchange system;
— helping to develop the EMN glossary and thesaurus; and
— developing capacity to respond to ad hoc queries.
— The EMN Steering Board (chaired by the Commission, and comprised of representatives from each EU country and an observer from the European Parliament) ensures that the EMN’s work is aligned with EU political priorities.
— The EMN is funded by the European Commission. Specifically, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund provides the financial resources for the activities and future development of the EMN.
The preparatory stage of the EMN started in 2003 in order to address the need to exchange information on all aspects of migration and to contribute to a common asylum and immigration policy. The Hague programme further reinforced the need for a common analysis of migration, which built momentum for the European Commission proposal for this Council decision formally establishing the EMN.
Council Decision 2008/381/EC of 14 May 2008 establishing a European Migration Network
Regulation (EU) No 516/2014