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
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).
6
November
2020
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 2020.
20
October
2020
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency published in 2019 its report on the ‘Integration of young refugees in the EU’. The report explored the challenges of young people who fled armed conflict or persecution and arrived in the EU in 2015 and 2016. The report is based on 426 interviews with experts working in the area of asylum and integration, as well as 163 interviews with young people, aged 16 to 24, conducted between October 2017 and June 2018 in 15 regions and cities located in six Member States: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Sweden. The links on this page provide a summary of the information collected during this period for each country about unaccompanied children turning 18 and the change in people’s legal status once international protection is granted. These two issues had at the time been identified as moments requiring sufficient, consistent and systematic support, particularly from lawyers, social workers and guardians, to ensure successful integration.
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.
29
July
2020
As we enter the second half of 2020, the constraints on our daily lives brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic have become a firm reality. New local lockdowns and the reintroduction of restrictive measures prompted by fresh outbreaks of the virus are a stark reminder that COVID-19 continues to shape our lives – and our enjoyment of fundamental rights – in profound ways. There is compelling evidence of how the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our societies. This FRA Bulletin outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic rights.
27
July
2020
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 April and 30 June 2020.
24
July
2020
This practical guidance addresses border-management staff in European Union (EU) Member States who work at the operational level. It aims to support them in implementing the fundamental rights safeguards of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) No. 2016/399) and related EU law instruments in their daily work, when carrying out controls at external land borders.
The EU Return Directive introduced an important fundamental rights safeguard for third-country nationals ordered to leave the EU because they do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry and/or stay. According to the Directive, Member States must provide for an effective forced-return monitoring system.
3
July
2020
The EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC) in Article 8 (6) introduced an important fundamental rights safeguard for third-country nationals ordered to leave the EU because they do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry and/or stay. According to the directive, Member States must provide for an effective forced-return monitoring system.
19
June
2020
In 2019, the International Organization for Migration estimated that 1,866 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 five people per day. In recent years, a significant proportion 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, authorities in some EU Member States started viewing civil society-deployed rescue vessels with hostility. As a reaction, national authorities initiated about 40 administrative and criminal proceedings against crew members or vessels, including seizing the latter. In some cases, rescue vessels were blocked in harbours due to flag issues or the inability to meet technical requirements.
11
June
2020
Now available in Macedonian and Serbian
13 November 2020
The year 2019 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 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. In so doing, it provides a compact but informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting the EU and its Member States.
11
June
2020
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020 reviews major developments in the field in 2019, 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 how to unlock the full potential of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
28
May
2020
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to interrupt everyday life in the EU in unprecedented ways. But the way it affects our societies is shifting. As governments gradually lift some of the measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, new fundamental rights concerns arise: how to ensure that the rights to life and health are upheld as daily life transitions to a ‘new normal’. This Bulletin looks at declarations of states of emergency, or equivalent, and how they came under scrutiny. It considers the impact on fundamental rights in important areas of daily life, and includes a thematic focus on the processing of users’ data to help contain COVID-19, particularly by contact-tracing apps. It covers the period 21 March – 30 April 2020.
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 Agency, in close cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council, held a high-level symposium where the fundamental rights issues that are currently high on the EU’s political agenda were discussed.
Listen to what children say about the situation of people, particularly children, residing in the European Union, who needed to flee from their home country or left their country of birth for any other reason and what they suggest to implement change.
Miltos Pavlou, Senior Programme Manager at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, talks about the participation of migrants and their descendants in the EU.
This infographic illustrates some of the main issues when it comes to integrating migrants and their descendants in the EU.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 9 February.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament Employment Committee on 8 November.
The Agency shared its view on protecting child rights in the Dublin Procedure, particularly for unaccompanied children at a hearing organised by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in Brussels on 10 October.
The Fundamental Rights Forum (FRF) is organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in cooperation with various partners. Refugee Protection is one of the three themes for the FRF which will take place in Vienna from 20-23 June 2016.
This infographic outlines FRA's work along a simplified version of the EU migration flow. Each item is hyperlinked so you can find out more on each topic.
This video message by UN Special Rapporteur Francois Crépeau was produced for the Fundamental Rights Conference 2014 (FRC) on Migration.
This video message by UN High Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein was produced for the Fundamental Rights Conference 2014 (FRC) on Migration.
This video introduces the topics of the Fundamental Rights Conference 2011.
FRA joined discussions during the plenary session of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for child rights. The session covered the rights of children in migration.
On 21 January, FRA took part at a conference on border management in Vilnius.
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.
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.
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FRA has been regularly visiting Greek migration hotspots since 2016.
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On 9 and 10 October, FRA will participate in the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s international conference on biometrics for borders.
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FRA will join the third in a row of four child guarantee workshops organised by the European Commission.
FRA will host a group of young lawyers from Germany on 3 July.
As workers in the EU are still severely exploited, FRA is jointly organising a high-level conference 'From wrongs to rights - Ending severe labour exploitation' in Brussels on 25 June.
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FRA will host trainers from the Member States and Schengen Associated Countries, the European Commission and Frontex responsible for training experts who evaluate the application of the Schengen acquis in the fields of border management, return and readmission.
Biometric data offers both opportunities and challenges with respect to fundamental rights.
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FRA will take part in the 4th joint meeting of the informal group of experts on child rights and the informal group on the protection of children in migration.
In the framework of the Romanian EU Presidency, the agency will present its guide on children deprived of parental care found in another EU Member State other than their own at a meeting of central authorities in the European Judicial Network.
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Upon request by the Spanish authorities, the agency, together with the European Asylum Support Office and the UN’s Refugee Agency Spain, is carrying a workshop in Seville on 13 and 14 May for staff working in the first reception centre for migrants.
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The agency will contribute to an integration working group of the Inter-Governmental Consultation forum on migration, asylum and refugees.
On 21 March in Brussels, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty will discuss several key fundamental rights issues with the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
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The agency, together with the European Asylum Support Office and the UN Refugee Agency, is organising a workshop from 20 to 22 of March in Cadiz, a region with a very high number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving by sea.
The agency and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) are organising a round-table discussion in Madrid on 21 February on age assessments.
The agency will join a panel debate on 31 January on how to improve reception and integration of unaccompanied children through family-based care.