Asylum

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.

Highlights

  • Report / Paper / Summary
    6
    July
    2023
    Following yet another recent tragic shipwreck and loss of life in the Mediterranean, this short report sets out examples of actions the EU could take to meet its obligations to protect the right to life and prevent more deaths at sea. As part of the work that the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) does on upholding fundamental rights in asylum and return procedures, this report calls for better protection for shipwreck survivors, and prompt and independent investigations. It sets out measures that EU Member States should take to improve search and rescue efforts and provide legal pathways to safety to prevent deaths at sea.
  • Fundamental Rights Report
    8
    June
    2023
    Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has resulted in massive internal and external population displacement. The European Union (EU) rapidly activated its Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since it was adopted in 2001. This entitled nearly 4 million people to legal residence and access to work, housing and legal assistance, education and healthcare.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    28
    February
    2023
    Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine triggered scenes not seen in Europe for decades. It has since caused death, immense destruction, and unspeakable suffering. It also set in motion a mass movement of people not seen since World War II. To protect them, the EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time. In doing so, all EU Member States must offer protection to those displaced from Ukraine.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    2
    February
    2023
    Many cities throughout the European Union hosted people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU currently faces the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. Since February 2022, over seven million people came to the EU. The arrival of such large numbers of people thrust cities and local governments to the forefront of the EU and its Member States’ relief work. This short publication provides a snapshot of cities’ initiatives to address this humanitarian crisis.
Products
31
January
2024
Children’s rights exist to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every child. Improved child protection systems ensure that these rights are met. In recent years, the EU has taken significant steps to improve child protection systems. This mapping of child protection systems gives an overview of the state of such systems at national level and developments since 2015. It promotes the improvement of integrated child protection systems. It is an update of FRA’s mapping of child protection systems in 2015, based on data collected in 2023 in the 27 EU Member States. By publishing this, FRA aims to support securing the sustainable well-being, safety and rights of all children living in the EU.
18
December
2023
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 carrying out border control, states have a duty to protect fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality, status, or age. Children as a category
of vulnerable persons with special needs require heightened protection.
12
December
2023
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced millions of people to flee. Arriving in EU countries, they received protection in EU law under the Temporary Protection Directive. Many have begun to build a new life in their host country and enrich our societies in new ways. Local authorities took the lead in ensuring access to fundamental rights under temporary protection. This report explores the measures to ensure access to housing, education, employment and healthcare in 26 cities and regional authorities across 12 EU Member States. Despite unprecedented coordination and cooperation to overcome challenges, many uncertainties remain. Longer-term solutions will be needed after the directive expires in March 2025. Based on the information collected, the report identifies 12 priority actions and builds on FRA’s bulletins and survey findings on experiences of people displaced from Ukraine.
22
November
2023
FRA publishes annual updates on the forced return monitoring systems that EU Member States have set up under Article 8 (6) of the EU’s Return Directive (2008/115/EC). This latest update covers the period until the end of 2022.
31
October
2023
Fundamental rights are an important consideration in European border management. Virtually all activities can have an impact on rights – from risk analysis to training, border checks and border surveillance. Safeguards in laws regulating European border management aim to protect rights. This report is a contribution to the first review of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 that offers an opportunity to reflect on how best to improve the fundamental rights situation at the external borders of the EU.
20
October
2023
FRA’s strategic priorities and objectives are based on the agency’s role and mission as defined in its amended founding regulation. They build on FRA’s 2018–2022 strategy as well as how it performed, its experience and its vision. Their design takes into account future fundamental rights challenges facing Europe, the agency’s mandate, the broader operational context and the resources available.
12
October
2023
This tool introduces newly appointed guardians to the concept of international protection, possible forms of protection recognised through the asylum procedure, the relevant legal framework and the related rights of the child. It is part of a series of four practical tools for guardians of unaccompanied children with international protection needs. The objective is to support guardians in their daily tasks and responsibilities during the asylum procedure, including the procedure under the Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 (Dublin III regulation) and temporary protection. The tools have been developed by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
12
October
2023
This booklet aims to support guardians assigned to children in the asylum procedure. It includes an overview of the asylum procedure with a specific focus on children, the guarantees in the asylum procedure and your role as a guardian in the different phases of the asylum process. There is also a section on what to do if something unexpected may happen, or if the age of the applicant is disputed. It is part of a series of four practical tools for guardians of unaccompanied children with international protection needs. The objective is to support guardians in their daily tasks and responsibilities during the asylum procedure, including the procedure under the Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 (Dublin III regulation) and temporary protection. The tools have been developed by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
11
October
2023
Since October 2018, FRA has been publishing regular updates on NGO ships involved in search and rescue (SAR) operations in the Mediterranean, and the status of legal proceedings against them. This latest update covers until the end of June 2023.
29
September
2023
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine posed new challenges for the EU. Millions were forced to flee the war. As a result of the scale of people’s displacement, the EU activated for the first time the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD). More than 1.3 million children sought international protection in the EU. This bulletin explores the respect, protection and fulfilment of the fundamental rights of displaced children and ways to safeguard their rights. The third in a series, this bulletin builds on the evidence in FRA’s Bulletin #1 and #2 on the experiences of displaced people seeking safety in the EU.
6
September
2023
Integration and social inclusion are important aspects of EU migration and asylum policy. The fundamental rights of long-term residents in the EU are explored through this report, focussing on the Long-Term Residence Directive. EU long-term resident status includes rights to move and reside in other EU Member States. This report examines the reasons behind the low uptake of EU long-term resident permits, despite them typically giving more rights than national long-term resident permits.
Report / Paper / Summary
6
July
2023
Following yet another recent tragic shipwreck and loss of life in the Mediterranean, this short report sets out examples of actions the EU could take to meet its obligations to protect the right to life and prevent more deaths at sea. As part of the work that the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) does on upholding fundamental rights in asylum and return procedures, this report calls for better protection for shipwreck survivors, and prompt and independent investigations. It sets out measures that EU Member States should take to improve search and rescue efforts and provide legal pathways to safety to prevent deaths at sea.
14
June
2023
In responding to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU activated its Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) for people who fled the country, allowing them to settle in the EU and to access basic public services and the labour market. By spring 2023, more than 4.5 million people had made use of the TPD or similar national protection schemes in the EU. In 2022, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights conducted an online survey among people displaced from Ukraine. Eurofound has analysed the survey results on their experiences when seeking to access employment. This paper highlights the main barriers that displaced people encountered and suggests ways to facilitate their inclusion.
8
June
2023
Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has resulted in massive internal and external population displacement. The European Union (EU) rapidly activated its Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since it was adopted in 2001. This entitled nearly 4 million people to legal residence and access to work, housing and legal assistance, education and healthcare.
8
June
2023
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field in 2022, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments, including a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
8
June
2023
The year 2022 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the main developments in the thematic areas covered, and a synopsis of the evidence supporting these opinions.
30
May
2023
Over the span of nearly eight years, there have been developments in showing respect for the human rights of those who arrive at the EU’s borders. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shown how a large and sudden influx of people can be managed effectively and respectfully. Notwithstanding the improvements, the growing number of people crossing or attempting to enter the EU pose a wide range of fundamental rights challenges.

In this bulletin, FRA takes stock of concerns and improvements regarding the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. It highlights the EU Member States’ legal and practical responses. It identifies key trends, promising practices, long-standing and emerging patterns, and persistent concerns.
1
March
2023
This manual is designed to help institutions, organisations and individuals to train guardians of unaccompanied children or to deliver ‘train-the-trainers’ courses. It can be used in a range of training contexts, such as professional and academic training, on-the-job training and continuing training. The manual is based on human and fundamental rights principles and ethical standards and recognises that the child and the guardian have their own personal stories, resources and capacities. It enhances guardians’ confidence to promote the child’s rights and best interests. It also enhances their confidence to act independently and impartially in relation to different state
officials, service providers and other community members.
28
February
2023
Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine triggered scenes not seen in Europe for decades. It has since caused death, immense destruction, and unspeakable suffering. It also set in motion a mass movement of people not seen since World War II. To protect them, the EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time. In doing so, all EU Member States must offer protection to those displaced from Ukraine.
2
February
2023
Many cities throughout the European Union hosted people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU currently faces the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. Since February 2022, over seven million people came to the EU. The arrival of such large numbers of people thrust cities and local governments to the forefront of the EU and its Member States’ relief work. This short publication provides a snapshot of cities’ initiatives to address this humanitarian crisis.
In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty talks about the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine. He argues that it is only if we all work together, with human rights as our roadmap, that we can make our way towards a peaceful future.
While many volunteers, organisations and EU countries provide help to the many children fleeing Ukraine, challenges and concerns need to be addressed: such as registration and interpretation, guardianship for unaccompanied children, access to education and childcare.
Overwhelming support for the many people fleeing Ukraine. Volunteers, organisations and EU countries provide support and help at the EU borders.
FRA looked at the challenging situation and identified fundamental rights risks, such as discrimination.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty visited the island of Samos, Greece, in April 2021 to get a sense of the reception facilities there. In this video, he acknowledges the efforts being made to improve facilities. He offers the Agency’s continued commitment to support these supports. As an example, he refers to FRA’s guidance on respecting fundamental rights at such facilities that could benefit both migrants and locals.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty, in his latest vlog, reflects on the migration situation at the EU’s external borders. He highlights the need for sustained joined-up efforts from all relevant bodies, including civil society, to protect the wellbeing and human rights of migrants. He underlines the importance of working with local communities as we receive migrants into our communities. He also points to room for improvement is our treatment of unaccompanied children.
FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty visited the Canary Islands in March 2021 to get a sense of the migration situation there. He highlights the need to support the Canary Islands in relocating unaccompanied children and providing clear procedures on asylum applications.
This video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded on 15 October 2020 at the Moria migration facility that was destroyed by fire in September 2020.
This video statement by FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty was recorded on 14 October 2020 at the temporary facility at Mavrovouni. This temporary camp was built to re-house people after the fire at the Moria migration facility on the island of Lesbos, in Greece.
Based on the lessons learned from relocation
experiences and on existing international and EU legal
standards, FRA has developed a number of practical
suggestions for the adjustment of relocation efforts to
the protection needs of unaccompanied children. This
guidance aims to be a practical tool for Member States
that wish to engage in the relocation of unaccompanied
children and in any future responsibility-sharing
mechanisms, and to gain knowledge on how this can
be done while respecting the child’s best interests.
Greece needs solid, sustained support and solidarity as it faces great migration challenges, says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty after 2 days of meetings in Athens with authorities.
In this edition Michael O'Flaherty reports back from his visit to the asylum seeker facility in Lesbos and calls for the support of all EU Member States to improve in particular the situation of unaccompanied children.
In the latest edition of his video blog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty focuses on the migration situation in the Mediterranean Sea and makes three proposals.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: Not all children benefit equally from efforts to guarantee child rights.
Some groups face particular difficulties.
Fundamental Rights Report 2019: Although migrant arrivals to the EU continue to drop, it remains a divisive issue politically and
across society. Nearly 4 in 10 Europeans think immigration is more of a problem than a solution.
And nearly a half overestimate the number of irregular migrants in their country.
Black people in the EU face unacceptable difficulties in getting a decent job because of their skin colour. Racist harassment also remains all too common.
This infographic illustrates the positive and negative impact on fundamental rights of using large-scale IT systems for security and border management.
For the past two years, FRA has been visiting reception centres for migrants across the EU.
FRA attended a meeting of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint. The meeting on 27 February marked the second anniversary of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
FRA and the UN Refugee Agency were re-elected as co-chairs to the Frontex Consultative Forum on fundamental rights.
FRA took part in a meeting on one of the subgroups of the European Labour Authority (ELA) Platform tackling undeclared work. The Subgroup looks at safe reporting and complaint mechanisms for workers to denounce abuse and seek support.
In a meeting on 5 February, FRA introduced its project on data collection on fundamental rights at external borders in 18 EU Member States and candidate countries.
FRA presented the Agency’s perspective during an expert roundtable on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s (Frontex) legal and non-judicial accountability in light of recent case law of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU).
The Greek Ombudsman and FRA held an expert workshop for staff of the Cypriot and Greek ombuds bodies who work as forced return monitors
On 23 January, FRA and the Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights attended the Frontex Management Board meeting. They addressed the protection of fundamental rights in Frontex operations.
The Council of Europe’s Special Representative on migration and refugees hosted a visit from FRA and the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).
On 11 January, FRA held the inception meeting for a new project on the Entry/Exit System (EES) with partners from its research network, FRANET.
On 18 December 2023, FRA presented its report on human rights defenders to the Visa Committee which brings together all EU Member States.
A new joint publication from the Council of Europe and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) outlines the relevant human rights standards at Europe’s borders that apply to children.
On 6-8 December 2023, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum in collaboration with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the EU Asylum Agency (EUAA) provided a training of trainers on guardianship for unaccompanied children.
On 8 December, FRA contributed to discussion on human rights compliant asylum procedures in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons. FRA reported about obstacles in accessing asylum procedures at EU’s external borders as described in its report Asylum and migration:
Longer-term plans, better information and administrative flexibility would support local authorities providing people who fled the war in Ukraine improved access to housing, education, jobs and healthcare in the EU, finds an EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) report. It examines how authorities responded to the first-ever activation of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive. It identifies good practices and suggests how authorities can tackle the many shared challenges they face.
FRA took part in the first meeting of the Council of Europe consultation group focusing on children from Ukraine. The meeting focused on applicable law, guardianship, reception and mental health programmes.
On 5 December, FRA presented key developments in terms of fundamental rights for asylum seekers and migrants during the plenary meeting of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint.
FRA contributed to a Spanish Presidency European Migration Network event on ‘Shaping the future of EU legal migration’. Participants discussed tools and challenges of labour migration policies as well as complementary pathways linked to work for people in need of international protection.
On 22 November, FRA gave a presentation online on guardianship for unaccompanied children. The presentation was part of a seminar organised by the European Committee of the Regions and UNICEF to celebrate World Children’s Day.
Every year, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) updates its overview of national forced return monitoring systems across the EU. The overview for 2022 is now available.
On 14 November, the Advisory Board of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism of Croatia met in Zagreb. They discussed progress in implementing the activities agreed for 2023.
FRA will run an online information session on 18 October on FRA’s work on Ukraine.
FRA will host a joint workshop in Brussels with the European Committee of the Regions on long-term solutions for displaced people from Ukraine.
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FRA will take part in a contingency plan exercise organised by the Finnish Border Guard in Helsinki and Southeast Finland.
On 20 September, FRA will take part in a roundtable meeting in Sofia on establishing national independent mechanisms to monitor fundamental rights compliance at EU external borders.
On 14 July, FRA will welcome members of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) from Munich. ELSA is an international association of law students and young lawyers.
The Council of Europe, EU, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will host a seminar for European lawyers on European asylum and migration legal practices.
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FRA will give a presentation on applying good practices to future relocation schemes during a meeting in Malta from 24 to 25 May.
On 16 May, FRA will speak at HIAS Europe’s ‘The Welcome Circle programme for Ukrainians’ event.
FRA will talk about European legislation and fundamental rights on issues linked to migration in Europe during a seminar organised by the European Law Students' Association (ELSA) in Italy.
On 24 March, FRA will welcome a group of students from the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Law and Political Sciences.
On 17 November, FRA and the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) will hold its annual dialogue in the European Committee of the Regions.
On 25 October, FRA will join discussions on the 100th Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint report on the current situation at the EU borders with Ukraine.
FRA will join the annual general meeting of the European General Council of Refugees and Exiles. It will be part of a workshop on the role of EU agencies in supporting access to asylum.
FRA Director will speak to the European Parliament about migration and migrant rights on 16 March.
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FRA will give training to the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) on 9 March and to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) on 14 March.
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From 20-24 February, FRA will take part in “The week of neighbours” summit.
On 9 February, FRA will give a virtual presentation to the students of the master course Intercultural communication and European studies at Germany’s Fulda University of Applied Sciences.
On 18 January, FRA will speak about the fundamental rights implications of the large-scale EU IT systems used in migration.
The Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights meeting will take place on 20 October.