Entry and identity

Embassies and consulates are often the first organisations a person goes to when applying for a visa. Immigration services play a central role in the process. In the end, they decide about residence permits (temporary or permanent) for their country. This makes it possible for embassies, consulates and immigration services to use preventative administrative instruments and to create obstacles against THB for labour exploitation.

Visa process

Embassies usually have the authority to decide about routine applications for three-month Schengen visa. More complicated cases would be referred to the immigration service in the capital. Requests for longer stay are a national responsibility and would also be referred to the capital for a decision.

For migrant workers from third countries, the procedure to obtain a work visa is a little more complicated. The company wanting to fill a vacancy with a worker from a third country has to apply for a working permit first. Once the working permit and the associated residence permit are in order, the visa is likely to be issued almost automatically by the embassy.

Immigration services are in a position to refuse or withdraw residence permits if the applicant does not or no longer meet the requirements of a purpose of stay. Therefore, entry can form a important barrier to THB. Immigration services also have an important task in quickly identifying and passing on signs of THB for labour exploitation to the investigative authorities.

Identification of possible victims: entry and exit checks

Detecting THB for labour exploitation when victims actually enter the country can be difficult. The exploitation has usually not taken place yet, so the victim may not be aware of what awaits them at the other side of the border. The victim may well have been promised a nice job and may therefore be making the journey willingly. But there are things that can be done at the border. Entry and exit checks offer an opportunity for prevention, detection, identification and interviews of possible victims, and for collecting information that can be used in a criminal investigation.

Illegal entry

Victims sometimes enter the country using legal methods, sometimes using illegal methods. If illegal methods are detected, the border guards are more likely to check for signs of a criminal offence, such as THB for labour exploitation. The reason being that individuals entering the country illegally are thought to be at a higher risk of exploitation than those entering legally. Refusing entry is possible in some cases. However, refusing an EU national on welfare grounds is not permitted within the EU.

Checking the identity of people at the border and at workplaces could also lead to clues about THB for labour exploitation, for example when forged documents are found.

Multidisciplinary and cross-border cooperation

Organisations that issue work or residence permits to migrant workers could check the information provided by the companies (such as the personal data and background of the person) with the embassy in the country of origin of the workers.

Specific information for organisations

The following six organisations have specific information about entry and identity: