Migration and Struggle in Greece

The “Sanctions Directive” – regularising further the appartheid regime of exploitation

Posted by clandestina on 15 May 2009

About the “Sanctions Directive” which will supposedly punish employers who hire illegal immigrants…

This one is from an official EU parliament source….

New rules will penalise employers of undeclared workers [19 Feb 2009]

The European Parliament has adopted new measures to fight illegal immigration. The “sanctions directive” lays down standard penalties, from fines to criminal law prosecutions on employers breaking the rules. It seeks to discourage clandestine working procedures, while protecting illegal immigrants.

The “sanctions directive” will complement other measures, such as the “return directive” and the “blue card” directive, with the overall aim being to prevent illegal immigration and encourage legal migration.
The legislation has been adopted under the co-decision procedure between Parliament and Council, so MEPs had an equal say with the ministers of the Member States. A compromise agreement was reached with the Council ahead of the plenary vote, making a first-reading agreement possible.
During the debate on 3 February, Italian socialist and  rapporteur Mr Claudio Fava said: “at the beginning, the rationale was to fight only against illegal immigrants. At the risk of punishing them twice. But we managed to understand our logic”.
During the press conference (after the amendments vote on 4 February) Mr Fava explained that the directive only covers illegal immigrants from countries outside the EU, and that legal workers are also exploited. But this is an issue decided on a national level. Fava gave the example of a young Romanian tomato picker, working under slave-like conditions he would not have the same protection as the picker next to him from a non-EU country.
MEPs adopted the legislation on 19 February and includes a declaration providing reassurance that this directive will not prevent further legislation on subcontractors.
The legislation still has to be formally approved by EU ministers and should become law in 2011.

….and this one is a commentary + links we found here

EU seeks to punish employers of illegal immigrants

The European Parliament is today (4 February) poised to vote in favour of new legislation aimed at punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants, shifting the responsibility to companies.

The long-standing EU debate over legislation on illegal migrants is linked to a number of other immigration issues, notably the ‘Return Directive’ (see EurActiv LinksDossier) and the European ‘Blue Card’ scheme to encourage legal immigration (EurActiv 21/11/08).

Under the new legislation, the onus would fall on employers, who are required to inspect their workers’ documents to ensure that their employees legally reside in the EU. Furthermore, the sanctions proposed under the directive – fines and possible criminal penalties – would apply to employers rather than to the illegal immigrants themselves.

The Parliament estimates that some 4-8 million non-EU citizens work in Europe today, often as builders, farm labourers, fruit pickers, cleaners or in the hotel trade. According to Parliament sources, the labour market, both legal and illegal, is likely to get a lot more competitive as the economic crisis deepens and unemployment continues to rise.

Italian MEP Claudio Fava (PES), who drafted the report on the legislation, said the changes were needed as migrants are frequently the victims of severe exploitation, and are “sometimes even treated as slaves”.

A clear majority of MEPs appear to share this view. After the issue had been debated by the house plenary session in Strasbourg yesterday, a European Parliament official told EurActiv that only the Greens and far-left groups will oppose the compromise. As a result, the legislation will be passed without any changes.

However, European employers are less approving. Marcus Schwenke from BusinessEurope, the confederation of European business, said his organisation has “strong concerns because the proposal is disproportionate”. “It puts a heavy administrative burden on companies and includes too severe penalties.”

GUE/NGL MEP Giusto Catania went a step further, saying the “directive is terrible” and arguing that it will make “those who are living in unbearable situations even more vulnerable and does nothing to combat practices that make unscrupulous employers even richer”.

He proposed instead to “normalise the status of illegal immigrants and stop them being exploited. What we should be focusing on here are those who exploit the situation of these people, but instead we punish the whistle-blowers, those who speak up and reveal the exploitation they are suffering from”.

European trade unions greeted the directive with measured caution. Catelene Passchier of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) argued that “taking measures against employers sounds nice, but experience in the US has shown that it drives a lot of the illegal work further underground; the nice employers become nicer and the nasty ones nastier”.


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