Eu Legislation

Immigration liaison officers’ network



Council Regulation (EC) No 377/2004 of 19 February 2004 on the creation of an immigration liaison officers network [Official Journal L 64 of 02.03.2004].


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.

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

  • exchange information and practical experience;
  • 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.

Meetings are held at the initiative of the Member State holding the Council presidency. Representatives of the European Commission participate in the meetings organised unless operational considerations require meetings to be held in their absence.

Member States may bilaterally or multilaterally agree that ILOs are also to 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 European Union draws up a report for the Council and the Commission on the activities of immigration liaison officers' networks. This report, drawn up in accordance with a model and a format established by the Commission, will constitute the basis of an evaluation report drafted for the Council by the Commission. This evaluation report, which is submitted at the end of each presidency, reviews the situation in each non-Member State in which ILOs are posted.


This Regulation follows on from the plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union, 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 and combating of illegal immigration.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 377/200405.10.2004_OJ L 316 of 15.12.2000


Commission Decision 2005/687/EC of 29 September 2005 on the standard 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 [Official Journal L 264 of 08.10.2005].
This Decision specifies the format to be used for the report on the activities of the ILO networks provided for in the regulation. The model for this report is set out in the annex to the Decision.

Last updated: 14.04.2006