What are your rights with regard to entering and staying in another country?

Migration can be broadly divided into regular and irregular migration, based on the method of entering a country. Regular migration takes place in compliance with the laws of a country, while irregular migration means entering or staying in a country without valid authorisation. However, irregular entry does not result in a lack of rights.

Migration & Human rights

All migrants are entitled to fundamental rights and are protected under the general principles of international human rights law. However, states do not have to provide migrants with rights equal to their citizens (e.g. the right to vote), and can limit the rights of irregular migrants compared to migrants lawfully residing in their territory (e.g. the right to work or to receive certain social benefits).

There are also specific rights for different categories of migrants.

example The particular rights of migrant workers are outlined in the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, which has, however, only been ratified by very few countries. The specific rights and protection of victims of human trafficking are outlined in the Trafficking Protocol to the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.


Last updated 30/05/2023