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
September
2015
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in those Member States that have been particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered in 2015 are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia.
Report / Paper / Summary
3
September
2015
The right to health is a basic social right. However, its understanding and application differs
across the European Union (EU) Member States, which results in different healthcare services
being offered to migrants in an irregular situation. This summary looks into the potential costs of providing migrants in
an irregular situation with timely access to health screening and treatment, compared to
providing medical treatment only in emergency cases.
3
September
2015
This report aims to estimate the economic cost of providing timely access to screening and treatment for migrants
in an irregular situation, compared with providing treatment only in emergency cases. It presents an economic
model to calculate such costs for two medical conditions: hypertension and prenatal care. To better illustrate its
application in practice, the model is applied to three European Union (EU) Member States – Germany, Greece and
Sweden.
25
June
2015
European Union (EU) Member States and institutions introduced a number of legal and policy measures in 2014 to safeguard fundamental rights in the EU. Notwithstanding these efforts, a great deal remains to be done, and it can be seen that the situation in some areas is alarming: the number of migrants rescued or apprehended at sea as they were trying to reach Europe’s borders quadrupled over 2013; more than a quarter of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; and an increasing number of political parties use xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric in their campaigns, potentially increasing some people’s vulnerability to becoming victims of crime or hate crime.
Report / Paper / Summary
19
June
2015
The situation at land border crossing points into the EU has received less attention than
Europe’s southern sea borders, where migrants’ lives are at risk. Although FRA research
shows that land border checks of third-country nationals are generally conducted routinely
and take place without incident, a number of challenges affect travellers’ fundamental
rights.
An estimated 3,280 persons died at sea in 2014 while attempting to reach a haven in Europe, and the number of those rescued or apprehended at sea quadrupled compared with 2013. The number of displaced persons worldwide reached Second World War levels in 2014. Many move on from where they first arrive, with Germany and Sweden together receiving almost half of the asylum applications submitted in the EU.
2
June
2015
Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals and EU citizens - as workers, but also as consumers - have to date not received much attention from researchers.
6
March
2015
Every year, tens of thousands of people risk their lives trying to enter the European Union (EU) in an irregular way, and many die in the attempt. Increasing the availability of legal avenues to reach the EU would contribute to make the right to asylum set forth in Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights a reality for vulnerable refugees and other persons in need of protection who are staying in a third country, often facing risks to their safety. It would also help to fight smuggling in human beings. This FRA focus seeks to contribute towards the elaboration of such legal entry options so that these can constitute a viable alternative to risky irregular entry.

26
January
2015
FRA was requested by the European Commission (EC) in January 2014 to provide practical guidance on the processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for law enforcement purposes, in light of efforts by Member States to establish national PNR systems. As a result, in informal consultation with EC services and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and building on opinions FRA, the EDPS and the Article 29 Working Party on PNR, FRA presented twelve fundamental rights considerations to EU Member States experts at technical level.
27
November
2014
The Conclusions contain suggestions and concerns voiced by participants at the conference, from plenary speakers and panellists through to members of the thematic working groups.
This video message by UN Special Rapporteur Francois Crépeau was produced for the Fundamental Rights Conference 2014 (FRC) on Migration.
This video message by UN High Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein was produced for the Fundamental Rights Conference 2014 (FRC) on Migration.
10
November
2014
Together with two FRA sister reports on the
EU’s air and southern sea borders, this report’s findings serve to inform EU and Member State practitioners and
policy makers of fundamental rights challenges that can emerge at land borders. Increased awareness should
also help to create a shared understanding among border guards of what fundamental obligations mean for
their daily work, ultimately enhancing fundamental rights compliance at the EU’s external borders.
Report / Paper / Summary
10
November
2014
The report examines the procedures for and conduct of checks that border guards carry out on third-country national passengers entering European Union (EU) territory at five international airports.
29
October
2014
Primarily using data and information collected from five EU Member States, this paper briefly describes the phenomenon of forced marriage and selected legislative measures taken to address it. It lists promising practices
for the prevention of forced marriage and for supporting victims. The paper covers only one among many forms of violence against women analysed by FRA in its Violence against women: an EU-wide survey. Main results report (2014).
Report / Paper / Summary
27
October
2014
This summary, and the related full report, look at how fundamental rights obligations
translate into practical border management tasks.
The report points out challenges as well as promising practices of integrating fundamental
rights compliance into operational tasks that do not compromise but instead enhance the
effectiveness of border checks.
9
July
2014
The EU and its Member States took a variety of important steps in 2013 to protect and promote fundamental rights by
assuming
new international commitments, revamping legislation and pursuing innovative policies on the ground. Yet, fundamental
rights violations seized the spotlight with distressing frequency: would‑be migrants drowning off the EU’s coast,
unprecedented mass surveillance, racist and extremist‑motivated murders, child poverty and Roma deprivation.
30
June
2014
This handbook aims to strengthen the protection of children, specifically addressing the particular needs of child victims of trafficking.
27
June
2014
** Please note than an updated 2020 edition of this handbook is now available.** The Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is jointly produced by the European Court of Human Rights and the FRA. It examines the relevant law in the field of asylum, borders and immigration stemming from both European systems: the European Union and the Council of Europe. It provides an accessible guide to the various European standards relevant to asylum, borders and immigration.
Almost one quarter of trafficked victims registered in the EU are children. EU child victims are twice the number of non EU child victims, with girls especially targeted. So what can be done? A new guide developed by FRA suggests 10 ways to protect children moving across EU Member States without parental care.
Many people across the EU risk being left behind, as growing intolerance and attacks on people’s fundamental rights continue to erode the considerable progress achieved to date, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2019.
On 4 June, FRA gave a keynote presentation via video conference to a roundtable discussion in Bucharest on the detention of migrant children and alternatives to detention.
FRA attended the Frontex Consultative Forum meeting on 17 May in Warsaw
The agency took part in the meeting on 23 May in Brussels of the European Commission’s Inter-Service Group on the integration of non-EU nationals.
On 14 May, FRA was the keynote speaker at an event in Vienna on the challenges and chances in the European Asylum System.
Migrants’ fundamental rights continue to be challenged by a tightening up of national policies and laws towards migration, finds FRA’s latest report. It highlights emerging concerns as support for healthcare and housing is cut as well as perennial problems resulting from overcrowding and asylum processing.
FRA gave a presentation at a technical conference exploring the links between statelessness and residence permits granted to these individuals in the EU.
From 24 to 26 April, the agency took part in a training course offered by the European Asylum Support Office on reception delivered to Spanish reception staff, Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security as well as to the Asylum Office.
On 24 April, the European Migration Network (EMN) National Contact Points (NCPs) held their 100th Meeting in Brussels.
The agency trained NGO lawyers in Hungary and from neighbouring EU Member States with an external EU border, following an invitation from the UN Refugee Agency.
The agency took part in the ID@Borders and Future of Travel Conference organised by the OSCE and Biometric Institute.
The agency spoke during a panel discussion at a conference in Strasbourg on 4 April on alternatives to immigration detention.
Upon request by the Spanish authorities, the agency carried out its first capacity building workshop for staff working in a reception centre for migrants in Chiclana (Cadiz) from 19 to 22 March.
A look at the migration situation over 2018 points to hardship entering the EU, anti-migrant feelings and tougher asylum laws and policies, as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights reports. However, it also acknowledges EU and Member State efforts to improve the situation of migrants and asylum seekers.
The agency attended a workshop in Luxembourg on 13 March of representatives of detention centres.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) organised a Professional Development Workshop for members of national courts and tribunals on the detention of applicants for international protection.
On 12 March in Warsaw, the agency attended the Frontex Consultative Forum meeting.
In response to a request of the European Parliament of 22 February 2019, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has issued an update of its 2016 Opinion on fundamental rights in the ‘hotspots’ set up in Greece and Italy – February 2019.
Stricter migration laws and policies continue to take their toll on migrants’ fundamental rights, finds the agency’s latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It highlights the hardening political stance in Member States, difficulties in claiming asylum, and poor reception conditions during the cold winter months.