CLANDESTINO critically explores the sources of data and estimates of irregular migration and, in particular, the validity and reliability of the methods used in their production. In doing so, it shows why and how migrants become irregular and whether and how they can achieve legal status. The transformation of the economic and political structure of the Central and Eastern European region since the beginning of the 1990s has disturbed stable migration trends observed in all countries of the region. Poland constitutes an area for shuttle and circular labour migration from former Soviet Union countries. It maintains a strict migratory regime. This is largely due to the requirements for EU accession and for entering the Schengen zone. The scale of both the regularisation programmes and their strict requirements made it clear that they were not tools to legalise the mass of illegal immigrants.

Czech migratory patterns are very similar to those well-known in immigration countries of the Western World. Irregular migration to the Czech Republic is mainly a demand-driven phenomenon mostly sustained by established informal networks of brokers. Main source countries of irregular migration are probably Ukraine, Vietnam, Moldova, Russia, Belarus, and China. Combating illegal migration is one of the main goals of Czech migration policy, however, measures taken are minor and yield very little effect.

The largest flow of irregular migrants to Hungary is constituted by the group of overstayers with non-EU member country citizenship. Irregular migration appears very rarely on the political agenda. The enforcement of existing harmonised regulations on entry, exit, stay and border management should be improved in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Irregular migration should be further de-criminalised.

As a result of Slovakia’s commitments during its accession to the EU and Schengen zone, the adoption of new legal norms, the better protection of the country’s borders and the fight against migrant smuggling became the major policies under which the problem of irregular migration is tackled. The country needs to raise interest in migration generally.

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