EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Immigration liaison officers’ network

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Immigration liaison officers’ network' for an updated information about the subject.

Immigration liaison officers’ network



Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 creating an immigration liaison officers network


It aims to establish formal cooperation by setting up networks of immigration liaison officers (ILOs)*.


Many EU countries deploy ILOs to their consular authorities in non-EU countries. The ILOs’ role includes maintaining direct contacts with the authorities in the host country to facilitate exchanges of information concerning:

  • flows of irregular migrants* originating from or transiting through the host country;
  • the routes followed by those flows of migrants;
  • the existence of criminal organisations involved in the smuggling of migrants and their methods of operation;
  • possible factors that may influence new developments and trends with respect to these irregular flows of migrants;
  • the methods used to falsify identity documents and travel documents;
  • identifying scope for assistance to the authorities in non-EU countries in preventing these irregular migration flows;
  • how to optimise the facilitation of the return of irregular migrants to their countries of origin.

EU countries must inform one another, the Council and the European Commission of their secondments of immigration liaison officers.

ILOs deployed to the same country form local networks in which they, in particular:

  • exchange information and practical experience, specifically through regular meetings;
  • coordinate positions to be adopted in contacts with commercial carriers;
  • attend joint specialised training courses and organise training sessions for consular officers of EU countries 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 EU country holding the Council presidency or at the initiative of other EU countries. Representatives of the Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard participate in them unless operational considerations require meetings to be held in their absence.

EU countries may bilaterally or multilaterally agree that ILOs posted by an EU country also look after the interests of one or more other EU countries. They may also decide to share certain tasks among themselves.

At the end of each semester, the EU country 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.

Evaluation and proposed recast of the regulation

The Commission’s 2017 communication on the Delivery of the European Agenda on Migration confirmed the need to revise the regulation. This followed an evaluation carried out by external consultants which produced its final report in August 2017. The evaluation concluded that:

  • ILOs remain highly relevant in the external context with respect to the EU’s approach to dealing with the impact of irregular migration; but
  • the regulation has had a limited and mostly indirect impact in terms of enhancing networking among EU countries’ ILOs deployed in the same location and improving coordination of the EU’s position with regard to host countries.

It also suggested that the added value at European level of ILOs deployed in non-EU countries had not been fully realised.

The Commission, therefore, issued a proposal to recast the regulation in May 2018.


It has applied since 5 January 2004.


For more information, see:


Immigration liaison officer (ILO): a representative of an EU country posted abroad by a relevant competent authority in order to establish and maintain contacts with the authorities of the host country with a view to contributing to migration measures including the prevention of irregular immigration.
Irregular migrants: the movement of persons to a new place of residence or transit that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries.


Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network (OJ L 64, 2.3.2004, pp. 1-4)

Subsequent amendments to Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the creation of a European network of immigrations liaison officers (recast) (COM(2018) 303 final, 16.5.2018)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Delivery of the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2017) 558 final, 27.9.2017)

Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, pp. 1-76)

Commission Decision 2005/687/EC of 29 September 2005 on the format for the report on the activities of immigration liaison officers networks and on the situation in the host country in matters relating to illegal immigration (OJ L 264, 8.10.2005, pp. 8-15)

last update 16.01.2019