← back to glossary ← back to glossary

Illegal Migration

When a person enters a state without the required visa or permit, or stays in a country after their residence permit, visa or passport is expired, this is called “illegal” migration. The loss of valid passport identification especially occurs on the flight or after a state’s collapse. Many organisations object to the term “illegal”, arguing that although a person’s stay in a country may be considered not legal, a person can never be illegal and therefore devalued as a human being. The term “illegality” is stigmatising and suggests an immediate connection to criminality. Thus, refugee organisations and human rights activists prefer the terms “irregular migration” or “undocumented migrants”.