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
    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.
  • 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.
  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    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
14
September
2018
This Opinion by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) aims to inform the European Parliament’s position concerning the legislative proposal for a Regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of European Union (EU) citizens and of residence documents issued to EU citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement. It focuses on the processing of biometric data and complements the opinion published by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).
10
September
2018
This Opinion aims to
inform the European Parliament’s position on the legislative proposal amending the
Visa Information System, the Visa Code and other related provisions of EU law. The
European Commission presented the proposal on 16 May 2018 and EU legislators are
currently discussing it.
5
September
2018
Severe labour exploitation is widespread across the European Union. While workplace inspections can help counter this phenomenon, they need to be strengthened to do so effectively. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with almost 240 exploited workers active in diverse economic sectors, this report provides important evidence on how unscrupulous employers manipulate and undermine inspections, and on what can be done to counteract such efforts.
6
September
2018
Workers are being severely exploited for their labour across the EU, and
inspections are not effective at stopping this reality. Based on interviews with
almost 240 workers – including non-EU citizens who came to the EU and
EU nationals who moved to another EU country to work – a new FRA report
outlines the problem and identifies ways to bolster inspections.
Periodic updates / Series
23
July
2018
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has been collecting relevant data since September 2015, in light of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU. This report focuses 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.
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.
17
May
2018
Civil society organisations in the European Union play a crucial role in promoting fundamental
rights, but it has become harder for them do so – due to both legal and practical restrictions.
This summary outlines the main
findings and FRA’s opinions on the different
types and patterns of challenges faced by civil society
organisations across the EU,
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.
Irregular migrants can fall victim to exploitative employers. The EU has rules to protect migrant workers in an irregular situation from exploitation and abuse, but gaps remain in their enforcement, finds a new report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Workers do not know their rights or how to complain, and even when they do, they may not receive compensation due. EU countries should do better to protect migrant workers’ rights under existing EU rules.
On World Refugee Day on 20 June, the Council of Europe and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) are joining forces to strengthen their cooperation on human rights protection at the European borders.
So far this year, almost five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day 2021, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in respecting the fundamental rights to health, education, employment and social protection across society. FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2021 plots the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on rights and suggests how best to address increasing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
FRA took part in a panel discussion on triggering change nationally towards respect for the human rights of migrants at borders through the work of NHRIs and other human rights defenders.
On 20 May, FRA attended the third online meeting of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Management Mechanism (Blueprint) Network.
FRA spoke to eu-LISA staff about the fundamental rights implications of the European Travel and Authorisation System. It drew on its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of ETIAS and its research into large-scale EU IT migration systems. FRA rose awareness of the possible fundamental rights risks that can emerge if safeguards are not duly implemented.
On 18 May, FRA participated in the online meeting of the network of EU Agencies’ contact points on human trafficking.
The EU law enforcement training agency (CEPOL) gathered experts from EU Agencies and Member States to identify and discuss future training needs on information exchange and interoperability of EU IT systems.
On 27 April, FRA attended the high-level forum on the implementation of the architecture for the EU information systems for borders, migration and security.
FRA took part in the online expert meeting of the Frontex Technology Foresight on Biometrics for the future of Travel group.
This week, Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), visited the reception facilities on the island of Samos in Greece.
FRA delivered online training on 30 March on the fundamental rights considerations of returning unaccompanied children. The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) organised the webinar.
The Consultative Forum of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) issued its fundamental rights considerations to the Frontex Management Board Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations in the Aegean Sea.
On 12 March, FRA participated in an online roundtable organised by regional authorities in Catalonia responsible for the protection of unaccompanied children. Several NGOs, medical associations, trade unions and child protection authorities of different cities participated.
On 10 March, the European Migration network launched its report on the state of implementation in 2019 of the EU’s Communication on protecting migrant children.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies a number of persistent and emerging fundamental rights concerns in its latest migration bulletin.