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
    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.
  • Periodic updates / Series
    21
    October
    2022
    The Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered solidarity from EU governments, local authorities and society as they welcomed more than 7 million people fleeing the aggression. The European Union’s rapid response, activating the EU Temporary Protection Directive, offered welcome relief and much-needed support to those in need. It allowed displaced persons the opportunity to quickly settle and to work, travel and access services across the EU. But other pressing human rights issues have come to the fore and remain high on the EU’s agenda, such as human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, hate crime and hate-fuelled disinformation.
  • 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.
Products
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.
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.
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.
FRA presented areas where EU funding could help address fundamental rights challenges in the field of asylum, borders and immigration. This could support Member States om their the implementation of EU law safeguards as they prepare their multiannual programmes under the new migration and security funds.
FRA carried out fundamental rights training during a webinar on interoperability of the EU large-scale IT systems.
FRA gave a presentation on good practices to protect and promote human rights during and after COVID during the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Management Mechanism (Blueprint) Network meeting on 4 February.
FRA took part in an expert meeting on children in migration. Member States’ authorities and EU agencies attended the 28 January event. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the state of play in the implementation of the 2017 European Commission’s Communication on protecting migrant children.
National Contact Points under the European Migration Network (EMN) met on 22 January. The aim of the meeting was to update national contact points, EASO, the European Commission and its Joint Research Centre, and FRA about each other’s activities.
FRA outlined fundamental rights safeguards in the Entry-Exit system during a training course on 2 and 3 February. FRA rose awareness on the potential risks for fundamental rights, that can emerge if safeguards are not duly implemented, drawing on its relevant work.
A Spanish version of the asylum and migration legal handbook is now available.
FRA held an online inception meeting of a new project looking into the fundamental rights situation of third-country nationals who are long-term residents in the EU. The meeting on will gather partners from FRA’s research network from nine EU Member States – Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden – covered by the research.
FRA published a brief note on the migration law implications of the new EU-UK arrangements.
In December 2020, FRA was an observer to the Schengen return and readmission evaluations of Cyprus. It joined a team of evaluators from the European Commission and EU Member States. This was the fourth such FRA observer visit to Member States in 2020.
On average three people a day died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2020, estimates the International Organization for Migration. On International Migrants Day on 18 December, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights outlines the difficulties that civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean continue to face.
The coronavirus pandemic tearing through society exposes the vulnerability migrants often face. On International Migrants Day on 18 December, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights calls on the EU and its Member States, when addressing the societal impact, to leave no one behind by also supporting migrants.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European Court of Human Rights issue the third edition of their widely-used practical handbook on European migration and asylum law.
On 4 December, at the Annual Dialogue with the European Committee of the Regions in the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs, FRA presented the findings from its report on the integration of young refugees.
A workshop on 3 December looked at how to ensure the best interests of the child when monitoring forced returns that involve children. The International Centre for Migration Policy Development, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and FRA jointly organised the online workshop. It was attended by 50 people from 21 different Member States.