This article will analyse the provisions of, and the rationale for, the EU Sanctions Directive and the significant divergence in treatment of irregular immigrants in EU Member States, in particular, in relation to the provision of outstanding remuneration, which the EU Sanctions Directive has highlighted. Ireland, a state that has chosen to opt-out of the Directive, has been selected as a case study to analyse some of the issues that states encounter in bringing domestic labour policy in line with globalisation. In particular, this article will address the phenomenon of irregular immigration to Ireland, the current approach to the provision of outstanding remuneration and the rationale behind this current approach. Finally, the article will conclude that the reasoning behind the Irish opt-out was based upon misinformed assumptions about the purpose of the provision of outstanding remuneration arising out of a 'disconnect' between immigration and labour policy at a domestic level. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011.