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

  • Periodic updates / Series
    19
    May
    2022
    This bulletin looks at the fundamental rights situation of all persons fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine to the four EU Member States neighbouring Ukraine. This is primarily in terms of the application of the EU Temporary Protection Directive. It is based on findings of FRA’s field mission to Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia at the beginning of March 2022. It is also based on weekly country reports prepared by Franet, the contracted research network of FRA between 1 March and 27 April 2022.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    20
    June
    2022
    The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) regularly collects data on the operations of NGO vessels involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean. This includes any legal proceedings against them, as well as on any difficulties in disembarking migrants in safe ports. The International Organization for Migration estimates that from January to 15 June 2022 about 842 people died or went 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.
  • 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.
Products
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
All language versions now available
12 September 2022
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.
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.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) was impressed with the level of solidarity being shown at the EU borders with Ukraine, despite the challenges faced. It also identified potential fundamental rights issues that may need addressing. These are just some of the early observations from FRA visits in all EU countries bordering Ukraine. A short report is due to be released next week.
EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies support the work of EU institutions and Member States as they help Ukraine and its people now that war once again touches Europe.
At the end of 2021, allegations for the treatment of migrants at EU borders as well as difficult conditions in detention and reception centres remained a persistent fundamental rights concern. This is according to the latest migration bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) welcomes that European countries have opened their doors to people fleeing Ukraine. Our full solidarity is with everyone suffering from this conflict.
FRA took part in a three-day online meeting of a Council of Europe drafting committee.
On 17 February, FRA took part in an online panel debate about fundamental rights aspects of the European Pact on Migration and Asylum.
On 17 February, the European Commission expert group on children and migration met to discuss guardianship for unaccompanied children.
The recently appointed EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Diane Schmitt, visited FRA on 27 January.
Guardians are key to ensure children’s well-being and that their best interests are taken into account. But the EU and its Member States continue to face many challenges to provide for full and effective guardianship for unaccompanied children arriving in Europe, reveals the latest report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
The recently appointed EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Diane Schmitt, visited FRA on 27 January.
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.
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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.
On 5 September, the Agency will take part in the 28th Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdrój, Poland, a high-level economic event organised by the Polish Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies and the Economic Forum Program Council.
A delegation from the Swedish Parliament’s EU Committee secretariat visits the Agency on 3 September.
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The Agency will participate in the High-Level Political Forum 2018 on Sustainable Development "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies" organised by the United Nations in New York from 12 to 17 July 2018.
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From 11 to 13 July, the Agency will take part in the 4th Euroscience Open Forum “Sharing Science: Towards new horizons” (ESOF 2018) in Toulouse, which will bring together over 4.000 researchers, educators, business actors, policy makers and journalists to discuss newest scientific developments.
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Representatives of the Agency have been invited by the Austrian Presidency of the Council to attend the informal meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI).
The Agency will take part in the second migration and child rights expert meeting in Brussels on 1 June that looks at protecting children in migration.
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The FRA Director will address the European University Institute’s renowned State of the Union conference.
The Agency will present its findings and suggestions on civil society space at a OSCE side event to the 18th ‘Alliance against Trafficking in Persons’ conference on 24 April in Vienna
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The Agency will take part in the 11th Europe-Ukraine Forum in Rzeszów, Poland, from 13-14 March 2018.
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The Agency will speak at a conference on how framing messages on migration are key to today’s policy and public discourse.