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
4
March
2022
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 2021.
15
February
2022
In 2015 and 2016, the numbers of unaccompanied children arriving in Europe increased dramatically, straining national guardianship systems. This report looks at how EU Member States, as well as North Macedonia and Serbia, have adapted their guardianship systems for unaccompanied children since that time.
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.
FRA attended the International Organization for Migration's International exchange on access to justice for migrant workers subject to labour exploitation.
Together with the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, FRA held a hybrid roundtable discussion about its Handbook on European on asylum, borders and immigration.
FRA provided input during a workshop on collecting and using data on irregular migration.
On 5 September, FRA delivered an online presentation on fundamental rights for Europol’s guest officers who will be deployed in Italy, Romania, Hungary and Lithuania.
A stable residence status, being able to work and change job freely, and having access to social security all improve the integration of non-EU nationals in the EU. But research from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows that the EU long-term resident status granting these rights is underused. FRA calls on the EU and national authorities to simplify the rules, remove the barriers and improve the uptake of the EU status.
Once again, the recent tragic drowning of migrants off the Italian coast underlines why Europe needs to urgently address the rising death toll in the Mediterranean. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on the EU and its Member States to act now to prevent future tragedies and save lives at sea.
FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty presented two new FRA reports to the European Parliament and the Council.
FRA, together with representatives from the European Commission, several Member States, civil society and the UNHCR took part in a working group meeting organised by the EU Asylum Agency in Malta on 27-30 June.
Following the recent tragic loss of life off the Greek coast, a short report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) suggests what the EU should do to prevent more deaths at sea. FRA calls on the European Commission, EU Member States and EU Agencies to act now to prevent future tragedies and save lives.
FRA provided fundamental rights insights during a thematic workshop of the European Migration Network Return Expert Group.
On 21 June, FRA attended the Employers Sanctions Directive working group in Brussels.
On 21 June, FRA spoke about the fundamental rights implications of using large-scale EU IT systems.
FRA provided fundamental rights input at a stakeholders meeting of the SHARED project.
FRA launched the Hungarian translation of its updated handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration.
The horrific drowning last week of hundreds of migrants in the waters off Greece underlines again why revised EU migration and asylum rules are urgently needed. On World Refugee Day, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reiterates its call for a more effective maritime search and rescue, enhancing protection of shipwreck survivors, and safe legal entry for migrants and refugees.
On 2 June, FRA’s Director delivered an impact statement during a high-level meeting on protecting children organised by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
On 13 June, FRA spoke at a high-level panel discussion on digitalisation and migration challenges. The discussion featured during a conference on digital innovation.
People fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can seek jobs in Europe. But not knowing the host country’s language and temporary job placements are just some of the practical barriers identified in a new paper from Eurofound and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The findings should guide policymakers in improving job opportunities that benefit both the people who fled and their host societies.
FRA took part in the annual meeting of the European Union Temporary Relocation Platform from 7 to 8 June in Brussels.
The impact of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, rising child poverty, widespread hate and protecting rights in the face of technological change are just some of the pressing human rights issues in FRA’s 2023 Fundamental Rights Report. With a focus section on the impact of the aggression within the EU, the report examines the support and solidarity provided by governments, local authorities and society. It suggests how EU countries can better ensure effective protection, especially for women who fled the conflict and need targeted support.
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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.