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
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.
6
June
2014
This year’s FRA annual report looks at fundamental rights-related developments in asylum, immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society, respect for private life and data protection; the rights of the child and the protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; access to justice and judicial cooperation; rights of crime victims; EU Member States and international obligations.
Report / Paper / Summary
27
March
2014
This paper examines the sanctions applied to counteract irregular migration, building on previous work by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on the rights of migrants in an irregular situation.
FRA
5
March
2014
This factsheet presents some examples of survey findings, which are placed alongside general considerations as possible ‘ways forward’ for responding to violence against women.
20
December
2013
This thematic situation report examines the effectiveness of responses by public authorities, civil society organisations and others to counter racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism in Greece and Hungary. The report goes on to make proposals for fighting racist crime, increasing trust in the police, and combating extremism throughout the EU.
FRA presented the 10 keys to effectively communicating rights and its implementation during a roundtable discussion in Brussels on 18 September.
On 20 September, FRA took part in a National Contact Points meeting of the European Migration Network (EMN).
Upon request by the Spanish authorities, FRA has carried out its fourth capacity building workshop from 10 to 11 September for staff working in El Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI) Ceuta.
Last year, almost 20,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in the EU; some inevitably have to leave. FRA’s latest focus paper guides national authorities when deciding whether to return children, not accompanied by parents, to their home countries to ensure compliance with EU and international law.
FRA spoke about migration narratives during a European Migration Network seminar in Slovakia that ran from 20 to 22 August.
Across the EU, various promising initiatives have sprung up to support young migrants become part of European society, following the large-scale influx of migrants and refugees to the EU. Marking International Youth Day on 12 August, FRA draws attention to their situation and urges Member States to do more to help them fully integrate.
Food deprivation, removals with no prior notice and the arrest of humanitarian workers carrying out search and rescue operations at sea are some of the fundamental rights concerns FRA identifies in its latest migration quarterly. It reports on some of the fallout in EU Member States as they continue to harden their migration policies and laws. It also highlights longstanding problems resulting from overcrowding and asylum processing.
FRA has just updated its annual overview of effective forced return monitoring systems across the EU.
FRA attended and provided expert input to a Council of Europe ad-hoc expert meeting on statelessness.
FRA research published today highlights the urgent need for European governments to do more to tackle severe labour exploitation in firms, factories and farms across the EU. First-hand interviews with hundreds of exploited workers reveal the illegal practices in sectors including agriculture, construction, domestic work, hospitality, manufacturing and transport.
On 19 June, FRA gave a presentation to the Council of the EU’s FRONTIERS Working Party in Brussels.
FRA joined a panel debate on rethinking the way you cover migration during the Global Editors Summit in Athens that took place from 13 to 14 June.
Following a request from the Spanish authorities, FRA carried out its third capacity building workshop for staff working in the Spanish migrant reception centre, El Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes (CETI), in Melilla from 12 to 13 June.
Over six people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2018. Tougher migration policies have been undermining civil society rescue efforts to save lives and bring migrants in distress at sea to safety, as recent FRA research shows.
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.