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
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.
20
November
2017
International treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, European Union (EU) secondary law and national legislation provide a number of rights to citizens. The maps and tables presented show the various patterns concerning age requirements for children to acquire rights in the EU. They also identify inconsistencies, protection gaps and restrictions deriving from different age thresholds. The aim is to assist EU Member States in addressing these issues and to facilitate the EU in exercising its competence to support and coordinate Member States’ actions related to children and youth.
Report / Paper / Summary
22
September
2017
This report assesses to which extent selected EU Member States have put
in place mechanisms to ensure appropriate oversight and control of quality
standards in reception facilities. Such oversight and control is essential for
providing dignified and fundamental rights-compatible living conditions
for asylum seekers.
11
July
2017
The European Parliament requested this FRA Opinion on the fundamental rights and personal data protection implications of the proposed Regulation for the creation of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), including an assessment of the fundamental rights aspects of the access
by law enforcement authorities and Europol.
7
July
2017
Various proposals on EU-level information systems in the areas of borders and security mention interoperability, aiming to provide fast and easy access to information about third-country nationals.
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.
Overcrowded reception centres with no possibility to practice physical distancing or follow hygienic measures are some of the main concerns the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies in its latest migration quarterly bulletin. At the same time, closed borders make it difficult for refugees to reach safety in the EU and leave some people stranded at sea. Suspended asylum procedures leave many in limbo.
Since 2015, thousands of boys and girls arrived to the EU without their parents. Almost 1,400 of these unaccompanied children have already been relocated from France, Greece, Italy and Malta to other EU Member States through relocation schemes. As a number of EU Member States have recently started relocating some children from Greece again, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) publishes a report highlighting the challenges and good practices of past relocation programmes. This report will help national authorities to take measures that fully comply with the rights of children and are practically feasible at the same time.
Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, hosted an online panel discussion on 21 April on the fundamental rights monitoring of the EU external border controls.
On 28 April, FRA contributed to the Biometric Institute’s online discussion on responsible use of biometrics in COVID 19 times.
FRA took part in a webinar on the relocation of unaccompanied children from the Greek Islands.
On 24 March, FRA delivered an online seminar organised by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) on returning unaccompanied children and fundamental rights considerations.
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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.
On 11 January, the Agency will attend the European Parliament’s S&D conference on ‘Winning the fight against child poverty: implementation of a European Child Guarantee’, in Brussels.
On 8 December in Brussels, the Agency will present its new Opinion regarding the impact on children of the proposal for a revised Dublin Regulation.
National Human Rights Institutions are being invited to participate in a workshop which should help the European Boarder and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, establish and implement an individual complaint mechanism for the Agency.
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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.