Defenceless workers? : the protection of irregular migrant workers in Europe with a focus on the situation in France and Spain

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Hausler, Katharina
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This thesis analyses what kind of protection by human rights and labour law irregular migrant workers enjoy in Europe. After giving a general overview on the protection by international instruments, the thesis presents the policy of the Council of Europe and the European Union with regard to irregular migrant workers. In this context an apparent lack of protective measures for irregular migrant workers is diagnosed within the legal framework of both organisations. While the European Union seems to focus its policy mainly on the fight against irregular migration, the Council of Europe has, however, in recent years started to put more effort on the precarious situation of irregular migrant workers. In the second part the thesis analyses the concrete legal protection on the basis of the national legislations in France and Spain, putting into consideration three basic labour-related rights (the right to work and the protection against unjustified dismissal, the right to social security and union’s rights) as well as non-labour related health care aid. The thesis concludes that irregular migrant workers enjoy a basic legal protection in Europe but that legal entitlements are often unclearly regulated and that the concrete protection is still insufficient. In particular it would be desirable that the European Union is developing common standards of protection for all irregular migrant workers on the territory of its Member States.
Second semester University: Université de Montpellier.
migrant workers, European Union, France, Spain