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
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
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.
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.
On 31 May, FRA attended the plenary of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint.
From 15 to 17 May, FRA contributed to training on the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Over the last eight years, the EU and its Member States took important steps to strengthen the fundamental rights protection of migrants and asylum seekers. But, despite progress, challenges persist ranging from the treatment of migrants at EU borders to difficult conditions in detention and reception centres, finds the latest migration bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
FRA attended a workshop on the EU’s Entry-Exit-System.