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
21
June
2018
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.
15
June
2018
The stories of the domestic workers FRA interviewed for this paper reveal appalling working conditions and fundamental rights abuses in private homes across the EU. These stories indicate that, seven years on from FRA’s first report on domestic workers in 2011, little has changed in terms of the risks and experiences of severe labour exploitation domestic workers in the EU face.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of rights protection. The European Pillar of Social Rights marked an important move towards a more ‘social Europe’. But, as experiences with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights underscore, agreement on a text is merely a first step. Even in its eighth year as the EU's binding bill of rights, the Charter's potential was not fully exploited, highlighting the need to more actively promote its use.
6
June
2018
The year 2017 brought both progress and setbacks in terms of fundamental rights protection. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2018 reviews major developments in the field, identifying both achievements and remaining areas of concern.
Periodic updates / Series
28
May
2018
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been collecting relevant data since September 2015. This report focuses on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. This report addresses fundamental rights concerns between 1 March-30 April 2018.
25
April
2018
The methods used to determine the age of
an applicant may include “invasive” medical tests which interfere with the rights of the child, including their right to dignity,
integrity and privacy. It is often a challenge to find the right balance between protecting children from harm and promoting
their participation in these procedures. This report provides important insights and identifies the implications of collecting
children’s biometric data and conducting age assessments.
19
April
2018
This Opinion by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) aims to inform the European Parliament position concerning legislative proposals on interoperability between EU information technology systems (IT systems) presented on 12 December 2017 and currently discussed by the EU legislators.
28
March
2018
This report outlines the fundamental rights implications of collecting, storing and using
biometric and other data in EU IT systems in the area of asylum and migration.
Periodic updates / Series
26
March
2018
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been collecting relevant data since September 2015. These focus on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
This infographic illustrates the positive and negative impact on fundamental rights of using large-scale IT systems for security and border management.
Periodic updates / Series
26
February
2018
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been collecting relevant data since September 2015. These focus on the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
For the past two years, FRA has been visiting reception centres for migrants across the EU.
Report / Paper / Summary
5
February
2018
This focus report assesses how the presence of
large numbers of persons in need of international
protection affects local communities in terms of
housing, education, the local economy and social
responses.
Report / Paper / Summary
5
February
2018
EU Member States’ legal and practical responses to migrants and refugees implicate several of their fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU). The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has regularly reported on these issues since September 2015. This report highlights key trends and persistent concerns between October 2016 and December 2017. It focuses on five areas: access to territory, reception conditions, asylum procedures, unaccompanied children and immigration detention.
16
January
2018
Guardians are a key element of a protection system for children who are temporarily or
permanently deprived of their family environment and cannot have their interests represented
by their parents. Great disparities exist between the types of guardianship provided
to children in and within European Union (EU) Member States. This report explores the key
features of guardianship systems put in place to cater for the needs of all children in need
of protection, including child victims and those at risk of becoming victims of trafficking in
human beings or of other forms of exploitation.
Easy-to-read report
3
January
2018
More than 20 million immigrants lived in the European Union in 2016. This means that 1 person in 25 was an immigrant. Having more immigrants and refugees makes it even more important for the governments to have plans to help them to integrate.

Survey on Minorities and Discrimination in EU (2016)

This survey involved interviews with 25,515 people with different ethnic minority and immigrant backgrounds across 28 EU countries. It explores issues concerning discrimination as well as experiences of harassment, hate-motivated violence and discriminatory profiling.
This infographic illustrates the main experiences immigrants and ethnic minorities across the EU have when it comes to discrimination. 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 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.
As co-chairs of the Frontex Consultative Forum, FRA and the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) presented the Forum’s 2019 Annual Report to the Council of the EU's Frontiers Working Party on 11 September.
On 23 September, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty addressed the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard, Frontex, for the first time.
On the 27th of August, FRA joined the hearing of the European Economic and Social Committee on diversity management and the future of EU diversity policies for migrants and ethnic minorities.
Living with COVID-19 continues to constrain our daily lives, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Moving forward, governments need to ensure existing fundamental rights challenges do not worsen and vulnerable members of society do not suffer disproportionately.
Restrictions for migrants, difficulties accessing asylum procedures or entering the EU territory and lack of information are some of the main concerns the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies in its latest migration quarterly bulletin. Furthermore, the lack of online learning tools and stable internet connection deprives many asylum-seeking children of access to education.
On 21 July, FRA presented the fundamental rights issues related to the Entry-Exit System during an awareness-raising webinar organised by eu-LISA for Member States.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) publishes new practical guidance on dealing with fundamental rights concerns at the EU external land borders. The guidance offers practical tips that will help border guards respect people’s fundamental rights in their daily work.
In Europe, thousands of exploited workers are forced to work endless hours with no or little pay and without adequate safety equipment. Many of those exploited workers are migrants. Their situation has become even worse during the Coronavirus pandemic, as their working conditions do not allow physical distancing or regular handwashing. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on EU institutions and EU Member States to take all the necessary steps to stop the exploitation of migrant workers, ensure safe working conditions and fair pay.
The European Commission invited FRA to provide fundamental rights input to the 26th meeting of the European Migration Network (EMN) Return Expert Group.
Five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2019, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 11 June, FRA contributed to a Red Cross Europe webinar on assisting migrants at borders.
FRA presented practical steps on how to effectively protect children at borders during a Save the Children webinar on 9 June.
On 4 and 8 June, FRA presented the findings of its good practices report on relocating unaccompanied children to Greek and Maltese authorities.
Growing intolerance and attacks on people’s fundamental rights continue to erode the considerable progress achieved over the years, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020. As Europe begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we see a worsening of existing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
Today, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) signed an agreement on developing Frontex's fundamental rights monitors. Under this agreement, FRA will provide advice and expertise to help set up effective fundamental rights monitoring during Frontex's operations at EU borders.
FRA is producing practical guidance (’dos’ and ‘don’ts’) for border guards on how to fully comply with fundamental rights when controlling the EU’s external land borders.
FRA discussed the main findings of its relocating unaccompanied children report with its civil society cooperation network, the Fundamental Rights Platform, in a targeted online meeting on 28 May.
Many governments are looking to technology to help monitor and track the spread of COVID-19, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Governments’ using technology to protect public health and overcome the pandemic need to respect everyone’s fundamental rights.
The Agency will join the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the UN Alliance of Civilisations for their anti-hate speech symposium.
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In cooperation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and Frontex, FRA will provide an intense capacity-building workshop for newly appointed and experienced forced return monitors in Amsterdam from 16-20 January.
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FRA will participate in the first meeting of the second phase of the European Coast Guard Functions Training Network project (ECGFA NET II) in Helsinki on 17-18 January.
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People from all walks of life will come together in FRA’s inclusive, innovative and forward-looking Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna from 20-23 June 2016 under the banner of Rights, Respect, Reality: the Europe of Values in Today’s World.