EU: Illegal Migration Directive

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the new European Union directive on illegal migration provides for detention of up to 18 months and no return for five years; whether the directive takes account of population levels and ageing populations in some European states; and whether they supported or opposed the directive.

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism)

This directive aims to establish EU-wide rules and procedures on the return of all categories of illegal migrants. The United Kingdom has not opted in to this directive.

Under the proposed directive an illegal entrant may be detained for a period not exceeding six months, but only where it is judged that there is a risk of absconding, or the person avoids or hampers the return or the removal process. Member states may extend the six-month period for a further 12 months. The purpose of the six-month period, and its possible 12 months' extension, is to facilitate the removal of illegally residing third-country nationals.

A re-entry ban may be imposed for a maximum of five years if a person was removed after failing to leave voluntarily. The ban may be for longer than the five years if the individual represents a serious threat to public safety. Member states which opted in have retained the right to waive, cancel or suspend such bans.

It is not designed to address demographic trends.

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