Provera, M. (2015). The Criminalisation of Irregular Migration in the European Union.


Citation: Provera, M. (2015). The Criminalisation of Irregular Migration in the European Union. CEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe, No 80. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies.



This paper offers an academic examination of the legal regimes surrounding the criminalisation of irregular migrants in the EU and of acts of solidarity with irregular migrants, such as assisting irregular migrants to enter or remain in the EU, and other behaviour that is motivated by humanitarian instincts.

The research analyses EU law and its relationship with national provisions regarding the criminalisation of irregular migration and of acts of solidarity vis-á-vis irregular migrants. A comparative analysis was made of the laws of the UK, France and Italy, supplemented by an analysis of the laws of Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. By considering the role of public trust in fostering compliance with the law, the paper explores the impact of criminalisation measures on institutions’ authority to compel individuals to comply with the law (institutional legitimacy).

The study finds that certain indicators question institutional legitimacy and reveals the varied nature and extent of penalties imposed by different member states. The paper concludes that there is an important role for public trust in immigration law compliance, not just in measures directed towards irregular migrants but also towards those acting in solidarity with irregular migrants.


This publication is available here.


This is NOT a C-MISE publication: this website hosts links to external publications and resources selected by the C-MISE team on the basis of their relevance for city authorities interested in service provision to migrants with irregular status, and are only presented here as suggested readings. External publications are the product of the authors there mentioned, and are not in any way the product of the C-MISE initiative, nor are they related or endorsed by the C-MISE initiative.