Restrictive migration laws, fracturing of citizenship and neoliberal labour markets intertwine with persistent migration flows to produce migrant precarity in the European context. This article examines the institutionalisation of precarious and unfree labour conditions for migrants in Denmark and Greece, through the enactment of laws and policy initiatives. The article situates itself in a literature regarding migrant precarity and its institutionalisation, unfree and informal labour and the production of immobility, which points to their interrelation as a constitutive element of modern European economies. In both cases, we can identify a retrenchment of rights and likewise the cases indicate that a fractured citizenship is instrumentalised in producing various types of immobility. The article concludes that despite differences between the European North and South we can identify a situation of unfree labour characterised by a lack of real or acceptable alternatives, within a setting of coercive geographies.