Jun 062008

LUXEMBOURG: European Union (EU) nations approved tough new rules on Thursday for expelling individuals who overstay their visas that could see them banned from the EU for five years if they resist, the EU’s Slovenian presidency announced.

The new measures will allow authorities in EU nations to choose between issuing residency or other permits to illegal immigrants from outside the bloc or returning them to their countries of origin.

The agreement, sealed by EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg and expected to be passed by the European Parliament in two weeks, immediately raised human rights concerns, particularly for those who might be detained.

Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot urged the ministers to ensure that human rights are protected in line with the UN and European charters, and that he would visit detention centres to ensure that this was happening.

“The commission will be watching this aspect very closely,” he said. Illegal immigrants often come from the Philippines, China, Ukraine, Latin American and African states.

Under the measures, an illegal immigrant has two options, return home or face deportation.

Should an individual decline both options and resist, they will be forced to leave, and face being banned from EU territory for five years. Afp


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