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. ...
Project start date: 1 December 2009
Report / Paper / Summary
Drawing on evidence from interviews with almost 900 asylum seekers, this report presents asylum-seeker experiences in submitting an appeal against a negative asylum decision. While documenting good practices, it also highlights several obstacles which make it difficult for asylum applicants to access effective remedies.
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.
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.
The research part of this project has now been completed and the outputs are shown below.
The duty to inform applicants about the asylum procedure: the asylum-seeker perspective (pdf 1256 KB)
Access to effective remedies: The asylum-seeker perspective (pdf 1287 KB)
Providing evidence for the thematic reports and comparative analysis.
Quickly accessible information for national experts and interested public.
This project page was last updated on 28.02.13.