The EESC expresses regret at the fact that the proposed directive was not referred to the EESC for an opinion, as it believes that organised civil society, and especially the social partners, has a most important role to play in shaping and implementing the Directive proposed by the European Commission.
In its opinions to date, the Committee has highlighted the need for simultaneous action to be taken to create opportunities for legal immigration and to deal with the causes of "irregular" immigration.
The Committee endorses the proposal, because in practice it promotes respect for human rights. However, the Committee has some doubts about the proposed directive's content, the time frame in which the proposal has been made, and the order in which the legislative proposals have been put forward. The employment of immigrants is an issue that is closely connected to the operation of the labour market and illegal employment in general, and therefore cannot be prevented by punishing employers alone.
In view of the connection between two different fields of the European Commission's work, which have a bearing on immigration at EU level, namely the area of freedom, security and justice on the one hand, and employment and social policy on the other, the Committee would highlight the importance of harmonising existing European Union legislation with the legislation on legal and illegal immigration which is currently in the pipeline.
Legal migration and immigration within and into the EU urgently need to be regulated, as do efforts to combat undeclared work.
The proposed directive should, therefore, be part of a broader package of measures to combat undeclared work – including among illegal immigrants – and not represent a fundamental policy instrument, as proposed by the Commission.