[JURIST] Legislation proposed Wednesday by the European Commission [official website] will seek to decrease incentives for employers to hire illegal immigrants [JURIST news archive], threatening fines, closing of businesses, and possibly jail time for those that partake in human trafficking or repeatedly employ illegal immigrants. The proposals [summary memo; press release], if approved, will heighten enforcement and bar employers caught employing illegal immigrants from competing for public contracts or receiving government subsidies. Employers may also be required to reimburse subsidies already received. EU Commission Vice-President and Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini [official profile] told reporters that currently less than three percent of firms are checked every year for compliance, which Frattini says should increase to at least 10 percent. Frattini also proposed the creation of a program of migrant worker "multi-entry visas" so that laborers would be able to fill seasonal labor demands in areas such as agriculture, tourism, and construction in multiple countries. The proposed legislation needs to be jointly adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament [official websites] to become law.
The European Union (EU) [official website] estimates that between 350,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants enter its member states annually, mainly fulfilling jobs in construction and farming. In January, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble [official profile] said that Germany would place a high emphasis on containing illegal immigration [JURIST report] during the six-month German presidency [official website] of the EU, which will conclude at the end of June. Reuters has more.