The asylum seeker perspective: access to information and effective remedies

Objectives - Why this project and for whom?

Analysing asylum seeker experiences

Traditionally, asylum policy is only rarely informed by assessments of those who are most affected by it: the asylum seekers themselves. In this project, the FRA revealed how asylum seekers judge selected issues relating to the asylum procedure. For the FRA, this hands-on approach was particularly important in order to provide policy makers with evidence-based advice.

The first issue under examination related to the EU Member States' duty to duly inform asylum seekers about the asylum procedure, as well as related rights and obligations. The FRA research helps identify how effectively information is provided to asylum seekers across the EU.

Secondly, the project looked at how asylum seekers perceive access to effective remedies if their asylum application is denied. The research documented which requirements pose the main challenges to asylum seekers when they try to submit an appeal on time. Specifically, the FRA explored issues such as: access to legal advice, interpretation and translation, the challenge to meet strict deadlines and the risk of being removed during the appeal procedure.

Asylum seekers' views were the backbone of this research. The FRA requested national researchers to organise focus group discussions with asylum seekers. In a second step, the FRA evaluated the input from the focus group discussions and compare it with the existing legal framework. To complement the findings, the Agency also contacted national asylum authorities on selected questions and include their replies in the analysis.

Details - What did the project involve?

Improving EU legislation

After the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in May 1999, important steps have been made towards a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Five pieces of EU legislation were drawn up and adopted between 1999 and 2005. The legislation creates a mechanism to determine the Member State responsible for reviewing asylum applications. The legislation also establishes minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, processing of asylum claims and rights granted to those found in need of international protection.

Although these initiatives seek to ensure a certain degree of harmonisation and better standards of international protection across the EU, evidence exists that asylum seekers face gaps in enjoying their rights at various instances of an asylum procedure. In light of this, and in an effort to set up the envisaged CEAS, the European Commission presented a number of proposals to improve four of the existing pieces of legislation on asylum, namely the Dublin II Regulation, the Reception Conditions Directive, the Qualification Directive and the Asylum Procedure Directive. This FRA research project aimed to assist policy makers in rendering EU asylum legislation more effective.  


Outputs - What did the project deliver?

The research part of this project has now been completed and the outputs are shown below.

Cover of the report on how well asylum seekers are informed about asylum procedures

Two thematic reports

The duty to inform applicants about the asylum procedure: the asylum-seeker perspective (pdf 1256 KB)
This report looks into how well asylum seekers are informed about asylum procedures.

Access to effective remedies: The asylum-seeker perspective (pdf 1287 KB)
This report examines how accessible remedies for asylum seekers are.


Country reports

Fact sheets on 27 countries 

Providing evidence for the thematic reports and comparative analysis.

Quickly accessible information for national experts and interested public.


Related Information

The Fundamental Rights Agency has published the two reports on asylum procedures in the EU, ahead of the Ministerial Conference on Asylum in Brussels on 13-14 September. Read more

This project page was last updated on 28.02.13.