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Article Il­le­gal en­try and im­mi­grant smug­gling

Germany has long been one of the main destinations for irregular migration in Europe.

Irregular migration is a major global challenge. As resources become scarce, migration policy and management assume increasing importance.

Illegal entry and residence in Germany are punishable under Section 95 of the Residence Act because they undermine the whole purpose of German residence law, which is to manage immigration while keeping in mind Germany’s economic and labour market needs and its capacity to admit and integrate immigrants (see Section 1 of the Residence Act). Anyone residing in Germany without the necessary residence permit is required to leave the country (Section 50 (1) and (2) Residence Act).

Organized gangs of human smugglers profit from growing migration by enabling and supporting illegal entry and residence in Germany. Organized immigrant smuggling is still an important activity of criminal groups and gangs in Germany. Smuggling is often related to other criminal activity, such as document and drug crime, human trafficking and illegal labour. Human smuggling and related crime undermine German law and values.

Reasons for migration include conflicts, persecution, poverty, unemployment, lack of education, discrimination based on gender or religion, and a general lack of prospects in migrants’ countries of origin (known as push factors). The main pull factors in the countries of destination include family or friends already there, the possibility of employment and social insurance.

National measures to fight irregular migration and immigrant smuggling

  • Border checks at Germany’s international airports
  • Patrols along the borders, of railway property and on trains
  • Various forms of cooperation between the Federal Police, the state police forces and the Federal Customs Administration, such as joint investigation teams and police and customs cooperation centres
  • Effective investigation and situation analysis by the Federal Police, Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the responsible state-level authorities
  • Comprehensive, interministerial and interagency analysis of irregular migration, immigrant smuggling and related crime at the Joint Centre for Illegal Migration Analysis and Policy (GASIM) with the participation of the Federal Police, BKA, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Federal Customs Administration (unit responsible for financial investigation of illegal work), the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Federal Foreign Office.

International measures to fight irregular migration and immigrant smuggling

  • Federal Police officers serving in the main countries of origin and transit for irregular migration, for example with the European border management agency Frontex; bi- and multilateral cooperation with the EU member states and with countries of origin and transit for irregular migration
  • Federal Police cooperation with their counterparts in neighbouring countries, for example joint patrols
  • Federal Police officers serving as border police liaison officers in selected countries
  • Cooperation with Europol, police assistance with targeted analysis and evaluation in certain investigations
  • Cooperation with Eurojust, judicial assistance in certain investigations
  • Cooperation with Frontex, for example on strategic assessment and analysis
  • Assistance with Interpol operations and analyses

For more information on irregular migration and trends in Germany, please see the Federal Government’s annual migration report (in German only).

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