The regularization of undocumented migrants in Europe

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The regularisation of undocumented migrants living in Europe is again at the centre of the political debate. Indeed, in the pandemic situation that we are experiencing, regularisation becomes a public health measure; it should remove the obstacles to access to health services. But it is also necessary to enable these workers, who have no rights and no income, to have access to the various public support measures.

The International Coalition of Undocumented Migrants (CISPM) has sent a letter to the European institutions inviting them to promote regularisation as a health response to the coronavirus crisis.
The CISPM also calls for a European action for regularisation in the week of 15-21 June 2020.
Follow the day of action here

The mobilisation group of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has drafted an analysis/communiqué calling for the necessary regularisation and is organising a virtual action on Thursday 28 May at 12:00 CET to promote it.

Other initiatives are emerging and call for action.

A broad call for regularization was launched and supported by many organizations and personalities of the March of Solidarities.
A demonstration took place on Saturday 30 May in Paris and actions all over the country, despite the state’s attempts to dissuade it. 10.000 people in Paris express strongly the need to regularize undocumented migrant.

At the beginning of the confinement, riots and hunger strikes took place in different detention centres.

Launched by overexploited agricultural workers, a call for solidarity and regularization has been partially heeded by the authorities who have launched a regularization procedure. However, some movements and trade unions supporting the demand denounce the cynicism of a purely utilitarian regularization that does not take into account the humanitarian situation of the hundreds of thousands or millions of undocumented migrants in the country (the figures speak of 600,000 to 3 million people). On May 21, a strike of the migrant rural workers took place.

Read the interview of Aboubakar Soumahoro, unionist and activist: "Governement is more worried about the fruit than the humans"

Obstacles to the movement of people in centres for asylum seekers, which are already strong in Germany, have been reinforced. This does not prevent mobilisation. However, regularisation is not yet on the political agenda...

The Coordination of Belgian Undocumented Migrants Collectives has published a study on the impact of the pandemic among the undocumented population and in collective living spaces.

Despite the confinement, collectives have mobilized both virtually and in the streets with some echo, which could allow the issue of regularization to be invited into the political debate.

The movement of undocumented migrants, active in the different autonomous communities, is articulated at the national level.An appeal addressed to the government has been elaborated and political discussions are ongoing .

First country to have partially regularised temporarily persons linked to a procedure (asylum application or regularisation). However,many questions remain unanswered: what will happen after the covid crisis? Will people become undocumented again? What do we do with the hundreds of thousands of people who are not linked to a procedure and who remain in the shadows?

Everywhere governments feel the pressure and respond, at best, with minimal regularisations of short duration (three months, six months) with strong conditionalities (proven work, being known by the authorities, etc.). We are still far from a change in policy. However, a space has opened up for social forces defending undocumented migrants.

Moreover, in many countries, undocumented migrants’ movements have organised solidarity actions with all the populations affected by the coronavirus: food donations, mask making, etc... showing that the struggle of undocumented migrants goes beyond their own condition and is part of a social justice approach for all!

If you have information on the situation of undocumented migrants and the debate on regularization in your countries, please send it to