What can you expect if you are irregularly in the country?

Illegal entry, transit, as well as assistance in illegal entry and transit through the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia are PUNISHABLE.

If a foreigner enters or resides in the country illegally, he/she may be fined for a misdemeanor for between 700 and 1000 EUR (Law on Foreigners, Article 217).

A foreigner who resides illegally in the country, may in certain cases be temporarily detained in the Reception Center for Foreigners (Law on Foreigners, Article 159). In certain cases, restriction of freedom of movement may be imposed on asylum seekers (ZMPZ, Article 63, Article 64, Article 65).

A decision for return is made for a foreigner who has entered or resides in the country illegally and he/she is removed from the country if he/she does not leave within a certain period (Law on Foreigners, Article 154, Article 155).

Assisting in illegal entry, residence, or movement through the territory of the country contrary to the provisions of the Law on Foreigners is also punishable – it is punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine, and in some cases by imprisonment of at least 3 or 8 years (Law on Foreigners, Article 211, Article 212).

The provisions of the national legislation are applicable to foreigners. Thus, if foreigners are involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and other crimes, they will be fined under the Criminal Code of the Republic of North Macedonia.

In addition to the fact that illegal entry, transit, residence, and assistance are illegal and punishable, there are many other risks of illegal movement. These are the most common risks you can face if you travel illegally through North Macedonia. These risks may not go away when you leave the country:

– Do not use services from smugglers – in case you, your parents, or relatives give you the money for your trip and/or you have also contacted the smuggler to arrange your trip, you may not be able to get that money back or you may fall into greater debt. This can lead to financial loss (debt) and victimization or exploitation by smugglers. The travel conditions provided by smugglers are almost always dangerous to your health and the health of the people you travel with, which can result in dangerous medical conditions and death. This way of traveling is illegal and is subject to penalties by the state authorities in North Macedonia;

– Do not become a smuggler of other migrants – Do not risk becoming a smuggler or trafficker. Penalties for this category of crimes could reach a maximum of prison sanctions;

– Abuse of the international protection mechanism – if there is a reasonable basis to believe that the person has applied for international protection to delay or impede the execution of the decision to return it may restrict his/her freedom of movement.

– Verbal, physical, and sexual violence – irregular migrants are at very high risk of experiencing some form of verbal violence (insults, threats, shouting …), physical violence, and sexual and gender-based violence;

– Robbery or kidnapping – if you are traveling illegally, you may be robbed, abducted/held against their will during the trip;

– Trauma and life-threatening experiences – if you travel illegally, you may find yourself in a life-threatening situation caused by travel, people you meet on the road, severe weather (extreme cold or heat), or wildlife. You may witness the death or disappearance of a group member;

– Criminal conduct – You are criminally liable whether you have identification documents or not. Do not risk being arrested or punished for a crime;

– Do not work without a permit – Begging or illegal employment is a misdemeanor and you run the risk of being punished for such irregular work;

– Respect the police – Respect the decisions of the authorities and use legal means to exercise your rights.