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

  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    17
    December
    2020
    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
    27
    March
    2020
    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
    18
    February
    2013
    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.
Products
17
December
2021
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) regularly collects data on NGO vessels involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean. This includes any legal proceedings against them, as well as any difficulties disembarking migrants in safe ports. The International Organization for Migration estimates that from January to 10 December 2021 about 1,654 people have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution or to pursue a better life. This is an average of more than four people per day. Deadly incidents have also occurred recently in the Channel (La Manche).
17
December
2021
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been regularly collecting data on asylum and migration since September 2015. This report focuses on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States and EU candidate countries particularly affected by migration. It addresses fundamental rights concerns between 1 July and 30 September 2021.
13
December
2021
Since 2014, FRA has been publishing an annual update of the forced return monitoring systems EU Member States have set up under Article 8 (6) of the EU’s Return Directive. This overview describes different indicators for an effective forced return monitoring system. It includes the organisation responsible for monitoring forced return, the number of operations monitored in 2020, the phases of monitored return operations, the number of staff trained and working as monitors, and whether the monitoring body issued public reports about their monitoring.
9
December
2021
This report sheds light on the realities faced by unaccompanied migrant children who are not in the care of child protection systems in the EU. Presented as a case study, it tells the story of children and young adults from Pakistan who travelled alone to the EU without their parents or other adults.
4
November
2021
This report outlines to what extent legal aid is available to those held in pre-removal detention in the 27 EU Member States, and in North Macedonia and Serbia, during procedures related to their return. These involve decisions on return, on detention pending removal, the removal itself and on bans on entry. The report also examines when people are entitled to free legal aid and how this aid is funded, as well as who provides representation and various factors that limit the scope of legal aid.
24
September
2021
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been regularly collecting data on asylum and migration since September 2015. This report focuses on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States and EU candidate countries particularly affected by migration. It addresses fundamental rights concerns between 1 January and 30 June 2021.
9
July
2021
This note sets out human rights standards stemming from both the European Convention on Human Rights and European Union (EU) law that apply to effective remedies for human rights violations at borders, together with those on complaints mechanisms and investigations into complaints of rights violations at borders.
24
June
2021
The Employers Sanctions Directive was primarily enacted to dissuade employers from recruiting migrants in an irregular situation, but it also contains provisions to protect workers. It facilitates access to justice for exploited workers and sets out workers’ rights to claim back payment of outstanding wages. The directive also contains provisions to enhance the effectiveness of labour inspections. This report describes how the 25 Member States bound by the directive have been implementing its protective provisions, focusing on the impact these provisions have on migrant workers in an irregular situation who are victims of exploitation and other labour
law violations.
18
June
2021
The International Organization for Migration estimates that about 813 people died or went missing crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war, persecution or to pursue a better life in 2021, up to 15 June. This is an average of almost five people per day. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) collects data on NGO ships involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean, legal proceedings against them, as well as difficulties in disembarking migrants in safe ports.
10
June
2021
The year 2020 brought both progress and setbacks
in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s
Fundamental Rights Report 2021 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.
10
June
2021
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 reviews major developments in the field in 2020, 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. This year’s focus chapter explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fundamental rights. The remaining chapters cover: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion; asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice; and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
10
June
2021
This focus looks at COVID-19’s impact on fundamental
rights. It underscores that a human rights-based
approach to tackling the pandemic requires balanced
measures that are based on law, necessary, temporary
and proportional. It also requires addressing the
pandemic’s socio-economic impact, protecting the
vulnerable and fighting racism.
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.
26
March
2021
This note outlines how to help ensure a dignified stay for third-country nationals who are apprehended or intercepted at external borders. Specifically, FRA identifies twelve points for protection-sensitive and fundamental rights-compliant planning and design of initial-reception facilities at such borders. These are based on the agency’s work at external borders, including data collection and research activities.
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.
25
February
2021
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been regularly collecting data on asylum and migration since September 2015. This report focuses on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States and EU candidate countries particularly affected by migration. It addresses fundamental rights concerns between 1 October and 31 December 2020.
18
December
2020
In 2020 (until 15 December), the International Organization for Migration estimated that about 1,054 people have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution or to pursue a better life. This is an average of almost three people per day. In the past years, a significant number of migrants in distress at sea have been rescued by civil society vessels deployed with a humanitarian mandate to reduce fatalities and bring rescued migrants to safety. Since 2018, however, national authorities initiated some 50 administrative and criminal proceedings against crew members or vessels, also seizing the latter. In some cases, rescue vessels were blocked in harbours due to flag issues or the inability to meet maritime safety-related and other technical requirements.
Handbook / Guide / Manual
17
December
2020
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.
8
December
2020
This report looks at fundamental rights compliance at the European Union (EU)’s external land borders, including rivers and lakes. On 30 January 2020, the European Parliament requested the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to prepare a report on these borders. It noted that the report should focus on the correct application of the safeguards in the European asylum acquis and the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) 2016/399).
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.
This infographic illustrates the main experiences immigrants and ethnic minorities across the EU have when it comes to discrimination. It draws from the findings from FRA's EU-MIDIS II survey.
This infographic illustrates the main experiences immigrants and ethnic minorities across the EU have when it comes to victimisation. It draws from the findings from FRA's EU-MIDIS II survey.
This infographic illustrates the main experiences immigrants and ethnic minorities across the EU have when it comes to inclusion. It draws from the findings from FRA's EU-MIDIS II survey.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) launched its policy brief Border Management and Human Rights.
FRA contributed to training Schengen evaluators on 6-10 December in Lisbon in the field of return and external borders.
The treatment of migrants at EU borders continues to be a pressing fundamental rights concern. Recurring deaths at land and sea are a tragic reminder of the urgent need for fundamental rights-compliant solutions, says the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on the eve of International Migrants Day on 18 December.
Each year, FRA updates its overview of forced return monitoring systems across the EU. The overview of 2020 returns is now online.
Migrants and asylum applicants have the right to get information about why their fingerprints are collected in Eurodac, EU’s IT system for asylum seekers and apprehended migrants. To guide authorities, a joint leaflet on how to understandably explain what Eurodac does is now available in various EU languages.
Violence, exploitation, terrible living conditions or limited access to healthcare and education. These are the realities unaccompanied migrant children face in Europe. A new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) suggests steps the EU and its Member States should take to offer better protection to unaccompanied children and ensure their rights are respected.
The recent drownings in the English Channel/ la Manche are a sad reminder of the extreme dangers people face at the hands of unscrupulous people smugglers.
FRA gave a presentation at the annual conference of the ‘Migration Law Network’, the largest professional hub of German-speaking migration lawyers and academics.
FRA held four guardianship training sessions between 9 and 18 November.
Between 8 and 9 November, the FRA Director visited Malta.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is deeply concerned about the worsening situation at the EU external borders with Belarus.
Effective access to competent legal assistance is a key safeguard to enable people in return proceedings to exercise their rights to an effective remedy and access to justice, finds a new report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). It identifies current practices and issues, and suggests how national authorities could improve effective access to competent legal aid.
FRA provided fundamental rights input during a professional development workshop on the detention of applicants for international protection, organised by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
The Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights published its annual report for 2020. FRA co-chairs the Forum together with UN Refugee Agency since 2020.
The European Union agencies active in the field of justice and home affairs have presented the first full overview of actions to help victims of trafficking in human beings. The main operational activities are listed in a joint report of the Justice and Home Affairs Agencies Network (JHAAN) published today at the occasion of EU Anti-Trafficking Day under the leadership of Eurojust. The report is a key building block of the EU Strategy on combatting trafficking in human beings and serves as a key reference document for national authorities engaged in tackling human trafficking.
FRA attended the extraordinary Frontex Management Board meeting which took place on 6 October.
FRA joined the annual conference of the Odysseus Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum Law in Europe.
FRA gave a presentation at an expert legal workshop on the right to know – access to classified data in immigration cases.
FRA took part in an online roundtable exploring the EU’s response to the situation in Afghanistan and its migration-related implications.
FRA helped train eu-LISA staff on the fundamental rights implications of large-scale EU IT-systems.
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.
FRA will present its study on role of the Employers Sanctions Directive on protecting irregular migrants from labour exploitation to the European Parliament.
The European Guardianship Network will discuss on 22 June the training materials for guardians that FRA and its contractor Defence for Children International Italy are developing. The draft manual targets trainers of guardians. The content covers ten modules.
FRA will speak to law enforcement officers about data quality in EU migration and security IT systems.
The next Frontex Consultative Forum meeting takes place on 3 February.
FRA will present its report on fundamental rights issues at EU land borders to the Schengen Scrutiny Group of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
The FRA Director will address the situation of unaccompanied migrant children during a European Parliament seminar.
FRA and the European Court of Human Rights will launch the 2020 edition of the FRA and Council of Europe handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration. This online book launch will take place on 17 December. It is being organised in collaboration with the International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
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This year, FRA again teams up with the This human world international human rights film festival.
The third Euro-Mediterranean Communicators´ workshop will tackle the question what is next for the migration narrative in the Euro-Mediterranean region?
The Consultative Forum of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, will meet on 15 October. FRA currently co-chairs the forum together with UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
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FRA’s migration reporting toolkit for journalists will feature in two workshops and be discussed with media partners during the III International Congress of Migration Reporting. The workshops will present how journalists’ knowledge of fundamental rights affects migration reporting.
FRA, as co-chair of the Frontex Consultative Forum, will chair a meeting with Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer on 24 June.
The FRA Director will address the European Parliament’s Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 2 April.
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FRA will be a partner of the international human rights film festival, this human world, for the third year.
FRA’s Director will deliver a keynote speech during European Asylum Support Office’s Consultative Forum.
FRA’s Director will exchange views with the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in Brussels on 6 November.