Starting from the perception that international migration is a process that leads from the State of origin through transit countries and perhaps even the high sea up to the entry to the State of destination this paper discusses the impact of public international law on the various stages of migration. Relevant are in this respect the rules of customary and treaty law, but also the provisions of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration of 2018 which try to create a comprehensive frame-work for the multidimensional phenomenon of international migration. These provisions do not have the legal status of hard, i.e. legally binding law, but still intent to govern the said process of migration. On the first stage the right to leave the country of origin is decisive. On the second stage the rules established for the protection of the migrants’ safety are addressed and exemplified by the existing rules for the rescue of lives in danger on the sea. At the third stage the rules for entering the country of destination become crucial. Actually here the territorial sovereignty of the State is decisive, but sovereignty is not absolute but bound by relevant customary international law as the prohibition of non-refoulement or by treaty obligations entered by the State itself. In this context the EU asylum law and the policy of pushbacks is dealt with. Issues of integration and acquisition of nationality are likewise tackled. Finally the basic view of the Global Compact at migration as a necessity and cornerstone of sustainable development leading to overemphasizing the benefits of migration vis-à-vis the difficulties of many States, especially with irregular migration, is critically assessed.
Keywords: Global Compact for Migration – State sovereignty – right to leave and enter a country – smuggling of migrants – non-refoulement – pushbacks