Help Print this page 
Title and reference
Immigration liaison officers' network

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Languages and formats available
HTML html ES html DE html EN html FR html IT
Multilingual display

Immigration liaison officers' network

This proposal establishes an immigration liaison officers (ILO) network. These officers are representatives of the Member States who are posted in a non-Member State in order to facilitate the measures taken by the EU to combat illegal immigration. The aim of the text adopted is to pool the actions taken by the ILO and enable officers in a particular region or non-Member State to liaise with one another.


Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network [See amending act(s)].


Each Member State posts an immigration liaison officer (ILO) * to its consular authorities in a non-Member State. The ILO maintains direct contacts with the authorities in the host country in order to improve exchanges of information concerning:

  • flows of illegal immigrants originating from or transiting through the host country;
  • the routes followed by those flows of immigrants;
  • their modus operandi;
  • the existence of criminal organisations involved in the smuggling of immigrants;
  • the incidents that may be the cause for new developments with respect to these flows of immigrants;
  • the methods used for falsifying identity documents and travel documents;
  • how best to assist the authorities in host countries in preventing these immigration flows;
  • how best to facilitate the return of illegal immigrants to their countries of origin.

Member States inform one another, the Council and the Commission of their secondments of immigration liaison officers. This information is published on the secure web-based network for the coordination and exchange of information on irregular migration (ICONet).

ILO posted to the same country form a local network in which they:

  • exchange information and practical experience, specifically through regular meetings and via ICONet;
  • coordinate positions to be adopted in contacts with commercial carriers;
  • attend joint specialised training courses and organise training sessions for consular officers of Member States posted in the host country;
  • adopt common approaches as to methods of gathering information;
  • establish contact with similar networks established in the host country and neighbouring countries.

Meetings are held either at the initiative of the Member State holding the Council presidency or at the initiative of other Member States. Representatives of the European Commission and the Frontex agency participate in them, unless operational considerations require meetings to be held in their absence.

Member States may bilaterally or multilaterally agree that ILOs posted by a European Union (EU) country also look after the interests of one or more other Member States. They may also decide to share certain tasks among themselves.

At the end of each semester the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU draws up a report for the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the activities of the ILOs in the countries and regions of particular interest to the EU with regard to immigration. This report is drawn up in accordance with a model provided in Commission Decision 2005/687/EC. On the basis of this report, the Commission then drafts an annual summary of the development of the ILO networks.


This Regulation follows on from the plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the EU, which envisages the setting up of networks of immigration liaison officers posted in non-Member States.

Following the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003 and drawing on experience gained in project management, such as the Belgian-led Western Balkans ILO network, the existence of the network was formally recognised through a legally binding act.

Key terms used in the act

  • Immigration liaison officer: a representative of a Member State posted abroad by the immigration service in order to establish and maintain contacts with the authorities of the host country with a view to contributing to the prevention of illegal immigration and combating this phenomenon.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 377/2004



OJ L 316, 15.12.2000

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 493/2011



OJ L 141, 27.5.2011


Council Decision 2005/267/EC of 16 March 2005 establishing a secure web-based Information and Coordination Network for Member States’ Migration Management Services [Official Journal L 83 of 1.4.2055].

The ICONet network enables Member States to exchange information quickly on illegal migration flows, irregular entry and immigration and the return of illegal residents. The aim is to combat irregular immigration and human trafficking more effectively.

Last updated: 26.07.2011