Research Notes is Border Criminologies’ new ‘mini-post’ series on recent publications about border control. In this first instalment, Yvonne Kramo summarises her article in the current issue of the New Journal of European Criminal Law. Yvonne is a second-six pupil barrister at 4 King's Bench Walk. In this capacity she also represents immigration detainees on a pro bono basis on behalf of Bail for Immigration Detainees.

The global approach to migration adopted by the EU has been heavily criticised for its control measures that fail to incorporate a rights-based approach to migration governance. Non-governmental organisations and human rights bodies have long highlighted the detrimental impact of 'Fortress Europe' in the context of the EU's main policy tool: the Returns Directive. In March 2014, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a report, entitled Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them, that drew further attention to the extent to which EU Member States have resorted to criminal law measures to deter irregular entry or stay in their territory. The report's findings expose the human rights challenges that result from the criminalisation of irregular migration and reiterate long-standing concerns over measures of EU migration policy that are at odds with the protection of irregular migrants' fundamental rights.

FRA premises in Vienna, Austria (Photo:
This paper considers how irregular migration has emerged as a priority at the EU level and how this has resulted in the convergence of administrative and criminal regimes to deal with the migration 'problem.' It considers the burgeoning case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning the Returns Directive to examine the emerging link between EU law and the criminalisation of irregular migrants―a practice that has developed in line with the 'crimmigration' trends seen in other Western jurisdictions. By engaging with the relevant criminological and criminal law literature, this paper illustrates the practical and normative challenges that emerge from this punitive approach to migration and the manner in which EU law is firmly implicated in this criminalisation trend.

Want to read more research on border control? Check our our new open access SSRN research paper series on Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship. Have an article or publication you'd like to summarise for the blog? Post a comment here or on our Facebook page. You can also tweet us.


How to cite this blog post (Harvard style):

Kramo Y (2014) Research Notes: The EU's Response to Irregular Migration and the Problem of Criminalisation. Available at: (Accessed [date]).