Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the creation of a European network of immigration liaison officers (recast)
1. In order to combat irregular migration Member States, including the United Kingdom, have posted officers overseas to improve their ability to manage flows both by reducing the risk of irregular migration and facilitating returns. There are almost 500 Immigration Liaison officers (ILOs) currently deployed by Member States, although their roles will vary significantly. The United Kingdom has ILO’s focusing on illegal Migration (Immigration Enforcement International staff) and supporting the return process (Migration and returns Liaison Officers).
2. In 2004, Regulation 377/2004 established an obligation for ILO’s to establish local or regional cooperation networks to improve information sharing and co-ordination of efforts. It was subsequently amended by Regulation (EU) 493/2011. The ILO Regulation constituted a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis. The proposals envisaged groups of officers co-ordinating activity locally to benefit all Member States.
3. In 2015, the European Agenda on migration and the EU action plan against migrant smuggling identified the need to evaluate the effectiveness of the ILO Regulation as a priority action in order to look at how the EU can improve its ability to share information and prevent illegal migration and migrant smuggling. The Commission at this time also announced deployment of European Migrant Liaison Officers (EMLO’s) to enhance the EU’s capacity in the field of migration.
4. The evaluation of the ILO Regulation, completed in August 2017, highlighted that it has had little impact on how Member State networks work together on a local basis.
5. The evaluation concluded that one of the limitations of current Regulation was that there was insufficient engagement at EU level.