Asylum, migration & borders

The rights of third-country nationals entering or staying in the EU are often not respected. This is sometimes because of insufficient implementation of legislation, poor knowledge of fundamental rights, or inadequately trained civil servants, and sometimes simply due to discrimination and xenophobia.

Some 20.5 million non-EU nationals were living in the EU in 2011, which represents about 4 percent of the entire population. To compare with this figure, 250,000 to 300,000 people on average apply for asylum in the EU each year. FRA collects data and information on the implementation of these people’s rights, identifying existing gaps as well as promising practices in the Member States. It then proposes ways of addressing shortfalls on the one hand, and making wider use of good practices on the other. Until now, the agency’s work has focused on fundamental rights at borders, the rights of migrants in an irregular situation, and asylum. In 2013, FRA will begin research on severe forms of labour exploitation, which is often closely connected to the violation of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ rights.

The EU has a set of rules and policies that cover visa, borders and asylum, counteract irregular migration and, to a lesser extent, concern the admission and integration of migrants. In addition, most rights enshrined in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights apply to everyone, regardless of their migration status. The Charter contains the right to asylum, and prohibits collective expulsion and the removal of individuals if there is a risk to their life or of other serious harm.

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Polish Senate discusses with FRA fundamental rights challenges and achievements in the EU

On 21 July, FRA presented the agency and its 2014 Annual Report of fundamental rights challenges and achievements to the Polish Senate in Warsaw. Speaking at the joint session of three parliamentary committees, the European Affairs Committee, Family, Social Policy and Senior Citizens’ Affairs Committee as well as Committee on Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions, the interim FRA Director, Constantinos Manolopoulos, focused on the issues of migration, victims’ rights and child rights.

FRA calls for zero tolerance for labour exploitation in the European Parliament

Labour exploitation has become an endemic problem, and EU Member States need to make a greater effort to promote a climate of zero tolerance, FRA Freedoms and Justice Department Head Joanna Goodey said during the presentation of a new FRA report to members of the European Parliament Committee of Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) on 15 July.

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Severe forms of labour exploitation

The project looks at criminal exploitation of the work of EU and non-EU workers. It aims to collect information on the nature of and responses to severe forms of labour exploitation across the EU. It builds on previous FRA research, particularly concerning irregular migrants in domestic work, and is linked to current work on victims’ rights and support.

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Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2014 - Annual report

Annual report
European Union (EU) Member States and institutions introduced a number of legal and policy measures in 2014 to safeguard fundamental rights in the EU. Notwithstanding these efforts, a great deal remains to be done, and it can be seen that the situation in some areas is alarming: the number of migrants rescued or apprehended at sea as they were trying to reach Europe’s borders quadrupled over 2013; more than a quarter of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; and an increasing number of political parties use xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric in their campaigns, potentially increasing some people’s vulnerability to becoming victims of crime or hate crime.

Severe labour exploitation: workers moving within or into the European Union

Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals and EU citizens – as workers, but also as consumers – have to date not received much attention from researchers.

Legal entry channels to the EU for persons in need of international protection: a toolbox

Every year, tens of thousands of people risk their lives trying to enter the European Union (EU) in an irregular way, and many die in the attempt. Increasing the availability of legal avenues to reach the EU would contribute to make the right to asylum set forth in Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights a reality for vulnerable refugees and other persons in need of protection who are staying in a third country, often facing risks to their safety. It would also help to fight smuggling in human beings. This FRA focus seeks to contribute towards the elaboration of such legal entry options so that these can constitute a viable alternative to risky irregular entry.