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
    6
    July
    2023
    Following yet another recent tragic shipwreck and loss of life in the Mediterranean, this short report sets out examples of actions the EU could take to meet its obligations to protect the right to life and prevent more deaths at sea. As part of the work that the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) does on upholding fundamental rights in asylum and return procedures, this report calls for better protection for shipwreck survivors, and prompt and independent investigations. It sets out measures that EU Member States should take to improve search and rescue efforts and provide legal pathways to safety to prevent deaths at sea.
  • Fundamental Rights Report
    8
    June
    2023
    Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has resulted in massive internal and external population displacement. The European Union (EU) rapidly activated its Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since it was adopted in 2001. This entitled nearly 4 million people to legal residence and access to work, housing and legal assistance, education and healthcare.
  • 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.
Products
The Fundamental Rights Forum (FRF) is organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in cooperation with various partners. Refugee Protection is one of the three themes for the FRF which will take place in Vienna from 20-23 June 2016.
6
April
2016
FRA’s opinions highlight general fundamental rights implications to be considered when applying the safe countries of origin concept. They should be read together with the relevant safeguards the Asylum Procedures Directive establishes. These safeguards provide for minimum guarantees that must also fully apply to applicants originating from countries on the proposed EU common list of safe countries of origin.
17
March
2016
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. This report identifies risk factors contributing to such exploitation and
discusses means of improving the situation and highlights the challenges EU institutions and
Member States face in making the right of workers who have moved within or into the EU
to decent working conditions a reality.
Periodic updates / Series
27
January
2016
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.
This infographic outlines FRA's work along a simplified version of the EU migration flow. Each item is hyperlinked so you can find out more on each topic.
20
November
2015
** Please note than an updated 2022 edition of this handbook is now available.** Children are full-fledged holders of rights. They are beneficiaries of all human and fundamental rights and subjects of special regulations, given their specific characteristics. This handbook aims to illustrate how European law and case law accommodate the specific interests and needs of children.
22
October
2015
Processing biometric data for immigration, asylum and border management purposes has become common. This focus paper looks at measures authorities can take to enforce the obligation of newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation to provide fingerprints for inclusion in Eurodac.
16
October
2015
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. The research covers four specific areas, namely the type of guardianship systems in place, the profile of appointed guardians, the appointment procedures, and the tasks of the guardians.
9
October
2015
For asylum and return (i.e. expulsion) procedures to be implemented effectively, people need to be at the disposal of the authorities so that any measure requiring their presence can be taken without delay. To achieve this, EU Member States may decide to hold people in closed facilities. Less intrusive measures, which are usually referred to as alternatives to detention, reduce the risk that deprivation of liberty is resorted to excessively.
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.
FRA helped train eu-LISA staff on the fundamental rights implications of large-scale EU IT-systems.
Allegations for the treatment of migrants at EU borders and difficult conditions in detention and reception centres remain a persistent concern, finds the latest migration bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
FRA attended the Management Board meeting of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) on 21 September.
FRA will become a member of the Visa Information System Fundamental Rights Guidance Board.
A new joint EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and Council of Europe note outlines the human rights standards that apply at European borders.
Over 70 representatives from EU Member States, EU and UN agencies took part in a migrant children expert group meeting on 24 June.
FRA joined other EU justice and home affairs agencies in a European Commission meeting on the new 2021-2027 HOME Funds. The funds include the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument, and the Internal Security Fund.
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.