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
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.

Forced return monitoring systems – State of play in EU Member States

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.
27
May
2020
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been regularly collecting data on 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 large migration movements. It addresses key fundamental rights concerns between 1 January and 31 March 2020.
11
May
2020
In recent years, thousands of girls and boys have reached Europe without their parents, and sought international
protection. Many of them experienced violence, abuse and neglect in their home countries, and while in
transit. They have the right to be protected in line with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights, and European Union law. This report explores the challenges and good practices gathered in the implementation of such relocation
programmes. Based on information FRA collected in 10 EU Member States, it aims to help national authorities
to support the relocation of unaccompanied children by taking measures that are fully rights compliant
and practically feasible.
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.
30
March
2020
Children in migration are more vulnerable than adults, particularly when they are unaccompanied. Their vulnerability makes them more exposed to violence,
exploitation and trafficking in human beings, as well as physical, psychological and sexual abuse. This report looks into challenges to the fundamental rights of children in
migration throughout 2019. It pulls together the main issues identified in FRA’s Quarterly Bulletins on migration in selected EU Member States.
27
March
2020
French version now available
24 April 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.
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.
17
March
2020
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) urges Member States to agree on a simple and practical workflow as soon as possible, to avoid lack of clarity and delays in the relocation process. This paper provides practical suggestions on relocation of unaccompanied children from Greece, building on lessons learned from previous mandatory and voluntary relocation schemes. The paper provides FRA input on the initiative of the European Commission and a group of Member States to relocate unaccompanied children.
February
2020
In today’s media landscape the way in which journalists
and editors receive, process and publish news
is constantly changing. Journalists face immense
time pressure, as news frequently breaks online To facilitate training on the coverage of migration
news, this Trainer’s Manual is a tool to be used together
with the e-Media Toolkit.
18
February
2020
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been regularly collecting data on 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 large migration movements. It addresses key fundamental rights concerns between 1 October and 31 December 2019.
16
January
2020
This leaflet
assists officers and authorities to inform asylum applicants and migrants in an understandable and accessible way about the processing of their fingerprints
in Eurodac.
19
November
2019
Over 2.5 million people applied for international protection in the 28 EU Member States in 2015 and 2016. Many of those who were granted some form of protection are young people, who are likely to stay and settle in the EU. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights interviewed some of them, as well as professionals working with them in 15 locations across six EU Member States: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Sweden. This report presents the result of FRA’s fieldwork research, focusing on young people between the
ages of 16 and 24.
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 other EU justice and home affairs agencies in a European Commission meeting on the new 2021-2027 HOME Funds. The funds include the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument, and the Internal Security Fund.
Irregular migrants can fall victim to exploitative employers. The EU has rules to protect migrant workers in an irregular situation from exploitation and abuse, but gaps remain in their enforcement, finds a new report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Workers do not know their rights or how to complain, and even when they do, they may not receive compensation due. EU countries should do better to protect migrant workers’ rights under existing EU rules.
On World Refugee Day on 20 June, the Council of Europe and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) are joining forces to strengthen their cooperation on human rights protection at the European borders.
So far this year, almost five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day 2021, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in respecting the fundamental rights to health, education, employment and social protection across society. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 plots the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on rights and suggests how best to address increasing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
FRA took part in a panel discussion on triggering change nationally towards respect for the human rights of migrants at borders through the work of NHRIs and other human rights defenders.
On 20 May, FRA attended the third online meeting of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Management Mechanism (Blueprint) Network.
FRA spoke to eu-LISA staff about the fundamental rights implications of the European Travel and Authorisation System. It drew on its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of ETIAS and its research into large-scale EU IT migration systems. FRA rose awareness of the possible fundamental rights risks that can emerge if safeguards are not duly implemented.
On 18 May, FRA participated in the online meeting of the network of EU Agencies’ contact points on human trafficking.
The EU law enforcement training agency (CEPOL) gathered experts from EU Agencies and Member States to identify and discuss future training needs on information exchange and interoperability of EU IT systems.
On 27 April, FRA attended the high-level forum on the implementation of the architecture for the EU information systems for borders, migration and security.
FRA took part in the online expert meeting of the Frontex Technology Foresight on Biometrics for the future of Travel group.
This week, Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), visited the reception facilities on the island of Samos in Greece.
FRA delivered online training on 30 March on the fundamental rights considerations of returning unaccompanied children. The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) organised the webinar.
The Consultative Forum of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) issued its fundamental rights considerations to the Frontex Management Board Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations in the Aegean Sea.
On 12 March, FRA participated in an online roundtable organised by regional authorities in Catalonia responsible for the protection of unaccompanied children. Several NGOs, medical associations, trade unions and child protection authorities of different cities participated.
On 10 March, the European Migration network launched its report on the state of implementation in 2019 of the EU’s Communication on protecting migrant children.
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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.
The agency will take part in meetings of the European Commission’s Inter-Service Group on 22 January in Brussels on the integration of third-country nationals.
The agency will take part in meetings of the European Commission’s Inter-Service Group on 22 January in Brussels on the integration of third-country nationals.
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The FRA Director will visit Spain from 1 to 2 October to meet with government ministers, organisations working on migration-related issues, and other issues, to offer the Agency’s advice and expertise on fundamental rights.
On 1 October, the Agency will attend the Vienna meeting of the European Sustainable Development Network, under the Austrian EU Presidency.
The FRA Director will be a keynote speaker at the opening session of the OSCE’s 2018 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) which starts in Warsaw on 10 September.
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On 13-14 September, FRA will take part in a conference organised by the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council focusing on cooperation with third countries in the fields of security and migration.