Asylum, migration and borders

The migrant crisis has triggered challenges across Europe. FRA encourages rights-compliant responses.

We provide practical expertise on this complex issue. This includes regular updates, focus papers and toolkits. We outline policy alternatives and best practices.


  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    The European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law provide an increasingly important framework for the protection of the rights of foreigners. European Union legislation relating to asylum, borders and immigration is developing fast. There is an impressive body of case law by the European Court of Human Rights relating in particular to Articles 3, 5, 8 and 13 of the ECHR. The Court of Justice of the European Union is increasingly asked to pronounce on the interpretation of European Union law provisions in this field. The third edition of this handbook, updated up to July 2020, presents this European Union legislation and the body of case law by the two European courts in an accessible way.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) Member States have an undeniable sovereign right to control the entry of non-nationals into their territory. While exercising border control, states have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality and/or legal status. Under EU law, this includes providing access to asylum procedures.
  • Page
    ‘Hotspots’ are facilities set up at the EU’s external border in Greece and Italy for the initial reception, identification and registration of asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the EU by sea. They also serve to channel newly-arrived people into international protection, return or other procedures.
  • Periodic updates / Series
    Based on its findings and research FRA provides practical guidance to support the implementation of fundamental rights in the EU Member States. This series contains practical guidance on: Initial-reception facilities at external borders; Apprehension of migrants in an irregular situation; Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries; Fundamental rights implications of the obligation to provide fingerprints for Eurodac; Twelve operational fundamental rights considerations for law enforcement when processing Passenger Name Record (PNR) data and Border controls and fundamental rights at external land borders.
The Fundamental Rights Conference, the flagship annual event of the FRA, focused in 2010 on ensuring justice and protection for all children, including those who are most vulnerable. This report summarises the speeches, discussion and common conclusions and issues identified during the conference.
To secure and safeguard the fundamental rights of everyone in the European Union (EU), the EU and its 27 Member States pressed forward with a number of initiatives in 2011. This report chronicles the positive developments made in 2011 as well as the challenges facing the EU and its Member States in the field of fundamental rights.
International and European human rights law impose an obligation on EU Member States to guarantee human rights to all individuals within their jurisdiction. This includes irregular migrants.
This report, based on comparative research on the fundamental rights situation of irregular migrants in Europe, advises on how fundamental rights should be incorporated in policies, laws and administrative practices affecting migrants in irregular situations.
This video introduces the topics of the Fundamental Rights Conference 2011.
Upon request of the European Parliament, the FRA presented an expert opinion on the fundamental rights compliance of a proposal for a Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (COM(2011) 32 final). This was a follow-up request to the opinion of the FRA related to PNR from October 2008.
In brief / Factsheet
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights examined law and practice in the EU 27 on the deprivation of liberty of irregular migrants pending their removal against the applicable international human rights law framework.
This factsheet summarises the main points of the two reports 'Access to effective remedies: The asylum-seeker perspective' and 'The duty to inform applicants about asylum procedures: The asylum-seeker perspective'.
A fair asylum procedure is one where applicants know their rights and duties, and where they understand its different stages. The right to be informed at decisive moments of the procedure is an important element of procedural fairness. Drawing on evidence from interviews with almost 900 asylum seekers, this report examines the information that asylum seekers have on the asylum procedure. In particular, it looks at the main source of information for asylum seekers, which type of information they receive, and when and how they receive it.
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.
On 16 October the Swedish Presidency presented a "draft of the Stockholm Programme" that is to be adopted at the EU summit in December 2009. Following this publication, the Fundamental Rights Agency has presented the following opinion paper "FRA Comments on the Presidency Draft Stockholm Programme" available for download below.
The FRA opinion paper presents a selection primarily based on the current thematic priorities of the Agency and are inspired by the factual evidence the Agency's own research has so far produced. This contribution is therefore just a first step in a long term approach of the Agency to follow and address the issues in the Stockholm Programme.
Upon the request of the French Presidency, FRA presented an opinion on the Commission's proposal for a Council framework decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data.
On 28 and 29 November, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), in close cooperation with the European Commission (EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator’s Office), brought together at Eurojust, the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, experts and partners from across the European Union to enhance prevention of trafficking of EU children. Participants included representatives from Eurojust, Europol, senior judges and prosecutors, child protection staff, central authorities established under the Brussels II Regulation, law enforcement officials, as well as civil society experts.
On 26 November, the Agency spoke during at an event organised by the Greek Ombudsman on forced return monitoring.
As a follow-up to the Director’s visit to Spain in October, the Agency carried out a technical visit to Spain from 18 to 22 November focusing on migration and asylum.
Some governments continue to be tough on migration, placing fundamental rights in jeopardy, finds the agency’s latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It points to stricter laws and policies, friction at the borders, poor reception conditions as well as rising hate crime.
The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) adopted a code of conduct for officials they deploy during operations.
The Agency held an awareness raising session on 6 November in Chios on the prevention and management of self-harm incidents in migration hotspots.
On 12 November, the Agency took part in a conference on forced return monitoring organised by the Italian Authority for the Rights of Persons Detained and Deprived of Their Liberty.
The Agency contributed to the training of Schengen evaluators in the field of return on 12 and 13 November in Riga, as part of a regular event organised jointly by the European Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.
The Agency attended the first meeting to launch the EASO network of experts on vulnerability.
The Agency presented the main findings of its latest Opinions to the European Parliament.
The Agency presented its Under watchful eyes – biometrics, EU IT-systems and fundamental rights report at the Biometrics Institute’s Biometrics Congress 2018 on 18 October in London.
The EU Agency eu-LISA held its annual conference on 17 October in Tallinn.
On 23 October, the EU-funded Forced Return Monitoring II project implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) held its closing conference in Nuremberg, Germany.
On 9 October, the Agency commented on the European Commission’s proposed regulation for an Asylum and Migration Fund.
On 25 September in Brussels, at the invitation of the European Commission, the Agency engaged in the 20th meeting of the European Migration Network Return Expert Group.
The newly-published ETIAS Regulation establishes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
From 13 to 14 September, the Agency took part in the annual meeting of the Working Group on Asylum and Immigration established within the European Association of Administrative Judges.
From 4 to 5 September, the Agency took part in the 11th meeting of the Committee of Experts on Administrative Detention of Migrants, operating under the supervision of the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Cooperation.
As some governments continue to take a hard line on migration, fundamental rights remain in jeopardy, finds the Agency’s latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It points to stricter border controls, poor reception conditions, particularly affecting women and children, as well as problems with hate crime.
The Agency has evaluated the Eurosur Regulation’s impact on fundamental rights, following a request from the European Commission.