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TLC Final Report, December 1999, Summary



There is an increasing convergence of migration issues to be addresses by western States, and an increasing convergence of solutions adopted. Governments should continue to strive to harmonize immigration policies within Europe and across the Atlantic. Greater transparency in immigration policy will ensure greater consistency and credibility. Harmonization in collection of data about immigrants, using agreed upon definitions, will facilitate transparency and consistency.

Recommendations regarding admission policies include:

Family Reunification. Governments should give priority to the reunification of nuclear families without setting specific numerical limits/quotas on these admissions. Eligibility should extend to the nuclear families of citizens and legal immigrants alike. Family reunification of minor children should take place as quickly as possible.

Asylum. Continued adherence to the principles of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees should be the cornerstone of refugee policy. European and North American governments should seek further harmonization of the substantive criteria for asylum. To protect bonafide refugees while deterring abuse of the asylum system, governments should:
enhance exchange of information on conditions in countries of origin;
ensure that asylum decisions are taken by competent authorities;
increase the timeliness and efficiency of asylum procedures;
reduce use of detention for asylum seekers who meet minimum criteria (e.g., manifestly unfounded or credible fear tests) and are not a threat to public safety;
adopt procedures through which those with a well-founded fear of persecution may request admission to a country of destination while they are still within their countries of origin; and
improve the capacity to repatriate asylum seekers whose claims to refugee or other humanitarian status are refused.

Others in Need of Protection. Harmonization of temporary protection policies during mass influxes is a high priority for policy makers in Europe and North America. Harmonization should include the following elements:
Governments may (but have no obligation) to defer decisions on individual status for a short and reasonable period in the case of mass influx.
If the emergency causing the mass influx continues beyond the short and reasonable period, an individual status determination procedure should be instituted. Asylum should be granted to persons meeting the Convention criteria, and a complementary status should be granted to those whose return would otherwise endanger them.

Governments should develop mechanisms through which the financial costs of providing temporary protection are shared. In addition, the credibility of temporary protection requires concerted efforts to repatriate those granted this status as soon as conditions in the country of origin permit safe and orderly return. Provisions should be made, however, for alternate solutions (permanent settlement in the host country or resettlement in a third country) if conditions preventing repatriation prevail for more than a determined period (e.g., five to seven years).

High-Skilled Migration. Policies regulating admission of high skilled immigrants should provide incentives to foreign students and workers to invest in their home countries. For example, foreign workers from developing countries should be able to take assignments in their home country without jeopardizing the ability to return to their new country. Governments must enhance the benefits of high skilled migration for both countries of origin and destination. In addition, admission policies should balance the interest of business in having access to a global labor market and the interest of domestic workers in gaining protection against unfair competition from foreign workers.

Lesser-Skilled Migration. Seasonal worker programs should be implemented only under certain conditions:
there is an adequate level of control over unauthorized entry and work;
incentives are in place for employers to hire domestic workers or take other actions, such as mechanization, to reduce dependence on foreign workers; and
bilateral agreements enlist the cooperation of source countries in curbing illegal movements and readmitting their nationals.

A credible immigration policy necessitates controls over entry. The control mechanisms must be consistent, however, with the values embraced by liberal democracies.

Visa and Border Control Policies. Governments should continue to give priority to visa and border control policies that facilitate legal admissions while deterring unauthorized entry. Policies needed to help ensure that visa requirements and border control balance the twin goals of facilitation and control include:
formal, independent review of visa decisions, particularly when a citizen, resident legal immigrant, or domestic business is seriously affected by a negative decision;
coordination and cooperation between the European and North American visa and border control information systems;
appeals processes for persons whose names appear without due cause on information systems used to establish eligibility for admission (either in visa issuance or border controls); and
harmonization of the rules implemented to sanction carriers who violate their immigration related responsibilities (harmonization of the amount of the fines, of potential imprisonment and of the payment of the costs related to repatriation of those without permission to enter).

Anti-smuggling/Anti-trafficking Activities. There is urgent need for enhanced cooperation of European and North American governments in combating alien smuggling and trafficking.
Sanctions against Employers. Governments should assist bonafide employers to determine if applicants are authorized to work by: 1) specifying a limited number of counterfeit-resistant identification documents to be used to establish work authorization, and 2) facilitating employer access, under appropriate safeguards, to information systems that can be used to verify the authenticity of the specified documents. The most effective sanctions target enforcement against businesses that purposefully hire unauthorized migrants, with special attention to those who violate immigration as well as labor laws.

Detention Policies. Governments should seek to harmonize administrative detention policies. Harmonization could include the following components: 1) prioritization of those to be detained, with top priority given to detaining those who are a threat to public safety, recidivists who have demonstrated that they are likely to abscond if released, and persons who have already been ordered deported and can be removed within a reasonably short time; and 2) imposition of reasonable time limits on detention.


Governments should continue to foster bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the management of international migration. Because of the complex factors within both source and destination countries that motivate and sustain migration, cooperation in the management of international migration makes a great deal of sense.

Migration, Trade and Development. Governments should link trade and migration discussions explicitly, recognizing that closer cooperation on economic issues can also lay the basis for cooperation on migration. They should also use closer economic integration to create forums to discuss migration issues. Governments should target efforts to reduce emigration from particular geographic areas within source countries.

Governments should seek to maximize the development payoff of remittances and migrant returns, for example, by fostering investments in projects that will create jobs and make migration unnecessary.

Managing Shared Land Borders. Managing migration across shared land borders must facilitate legal crossings (that is, for trade, investment, tourism, family visits and consumer activities) while deterring unauthorized entry. A number of practices can help facilitate legal and prevent unauthorized entries across shared borders:
issuing border crossing cards that serve as multiple entry visas (for example, up to 25 miles and 72 hours inside the US) for residents of border areas who are most likely to commute;
cooperating with neighboring countries to develop Dedicated Commuter Lanes for frequent border crossers;
increasing staffing at border crossing points to reduce waits for entry;
adding agents, fences, lights and other devices to deter unauthorized entries between ports of entry;
promoting cooperative policing in border areas, as occurs with German and Polish Border Patrol agents volunteering to patrol jointly along the German-Polish border; and
permitting visa-free entry for border residents, linked to agreements that the country sharing the border will cooperate in preventing the entry of third country nationals across the shared border.

Neighboring countries should institute regular consultations involving all levels of government as well as the private sector in border communities to discuss ways to foster cooperation and to make explicit any linkages between trade, aid, and migration.


There is urgent need for North American and European countries to take action to address barriers to full economic, social and civic incorporation of legal immigrants residing in their communities. Although other barriers to full integration exist, discrimination against foreigners remains a major problem that must be addressed.

Economic Integration. Governments and the private sector should take immediate action to improve the economic integration of immigrants in Europe and North America. The following strategies help immigrants overcome the barriers to economic integration. Examples of such approaches can be found on both sides of the Atlantic, attesting to their broad applicability.
literacy, host country language acquisition, and basic skills upgrading for both new arrivals and immigrants already residing in host countries. Special attention should be given to the children of immigrants to help ensure that educational barriers do not persist into the second and third generation;
programs to stimulate immigrant business development and help immigrant entrepreneurs to do more effective planning, comply with labor, tax, and other business requirements, identify sources of capital and otherwise take the steps needed to operate successful enterprises;
efforts to combat racism and discrimination at the workplace and encourage businesses to make positive efforts to recruit immigrant workers; and
eliminating unnecessary and inappropriate restrictions that limit certain jobs to citizens.

Civic Incorporation. European and North American countries should take immediate steps to encourage naturalization by:
reducing legal and administrative barriers to citizenship; and
facilitating citizenship for children born to immigrants in host countries.
Beyond facilitating citizenship, countries should adopt programs to help empower new citizens to participate fully in the civic, social, and economic life of their host societies.

Social and Community Relations. National authorities should work closely with local communities to facilitate the social integration of immigrants and to reduce community tensions that may arise. Strategies used on both sides of the Atlantic to improve community relations include:
educational programs to promote tolerance;
programs to orient new immigrants to accepted ways of life in the host society;
conflict mediation programs;
vigorous prosecution of hate crimes and similar offenses committed against immigrants because of their race, nationality or religion;
programs to build positive relations between immigrants and the police; and
reduction in discrimination against immigrants.

Exchange of Best Integration Practices. Governments should expand opportunities to share their experiences in facilitating the economic, civic and social integration of immigrants.