Revision of the immigration liaison officers network: Implementation Appraisal

16-05-2018

Preventing irregular migration to the EU is a central component of the EU approach to migration. The posting of immigration liaison officers (ILOs) in third countries by Member States to facilitate contacts with the authorities there is part of a multi-layered framework that combines external and internal policies. Although ILOs are a bilateral instrument used by the Member States, the ambition to create a stronger European dimension to their work led to the adoption, in 2004, of a regulation establishing an EU network of ILOs. The increasing pressure on Member States' immigration systems in recent years has led to new EU policies that impact the work and priorities of ILOs. In particular, the return of irregular migrants is a field in which operational support has been increasingly expected from ILOs. This priority has been accompanied by the creation of new EU actors in the field of return and re-admission, such as Frontex Liaison Officers, European Return Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers. Parallel to these changes in the area of EU immigration policies, evaluation of the ILOs Network Regulation has showed very mixed results as regards its relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value. A European Commission proposal to address these issues was tabled on 16 May 2018.

Preventing irregular migration to the EU is a central component of the EU approach to migration. The posting of immigration liaison officers (ILOs) in third countries by Member States to facilitate contacts with the authorities there is part of a multi-layered framework that combines external and internal policies. Although ILOs are a bilateral instrument used by the Member States, the ambition to create a stronger European dimension to their work led to the adoption, in 2004, of a regulation establishing an EU network of ILOs. The increasing pressure on Member States' immigration systems in recent years has led to new EU policies that impact the work and priorities of ILOs. In particular, the return of irregular migrants is a field in which operational support has been increasingly expected from ILOs. This priority has been accompanied by the creation of new EU actors in the field of return and re-admission, such as Frontex Liaison Officers, European Return Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers. Parallel to these changes in the area of EU immigration policies, evaluation of the ILOs Network Regulation has showed very mixed results as regards its relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value. A European Commission proposal to address these issues was tabled on 16 May 2018.