Cleaning Dirty Hands? Some Thoughts on Private Companies, Migration and CSR in the European Union

Bloom, Tendayi (2016). Cleaning Dirty Hands? Some Thoughts on Private Companies, Migration and CSR in the European Union. Human Rights and International Legal Discourse, 10(1) pp. 139–159.


Migration is so far little discussed in the CSR literature and CSR is little discussed in the migration literature. Where these discourses do come together, it is most commonly regarding how private companies affect migration patterns, the need for employers to adhere to State immigration policies, and the possible involvement of the private sector in activities relating to trafficking. However, European countries frequently use the services of private companies to carry out a range of migration related activities. This paper looks at the use of private companies to support a State’s pre-entry measures (carrier sanctions), internal measures (detention) and ejection (deportation). It presents some of the ways in which this delegation may be considered problematic and suggests a possible direction for a CSR case for corporations sometimes not to carry out States’ wishes in this sector. In particular, it suggests that there is scope for considering a business case for CSR in this sector, an ethical case and a legal case. It offers a brief discussion of how access to passenger transportation could in some circumstances be seen as a vital need. This paper uses the discussion of the involvement of the passenger transport industry in migration control to draw attention to two wider concerns. First, how can European CSR respond in situations where the European States themselves may be violating international norms? Second, is there scope for developing an understanding of CSR in the wider migration control sector?

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