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.


  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    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
    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
    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.
This video introduces the topics of the Fundamental Rights Conference 2011.
Upon request of the European Parliament, the FRA presented an expert opinion on the fundamental rights compliance of a proposal for a Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (COM(2011) 32 final). This was a follow-up request to the opinion of the FRA related to PNR from October 2008.
In brief / Factsheet
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights examined law and practice in the EU 27 on the deprivation of liberty of irregular migrants pending their removal against the applicable international human rights law framework.
This factsheet summarises the main points of the two reports 'Access to effective remedies: The asylum-seeker perspective' and 'The duty to inform applicants about asylum procedures: The asylum-seeker perspective'.
A fair asylum procedure is one where applicants know their rights and duties, and where they understand its different stages. The right to be informed at decisive moments of the procedure is an important element of procedural fairness. Drawing on evidence from interviews with almost 900 asylum seekers, this report examines the information that asylum seekers have on the asylum procedure. In particular, it looks at the main source of information for asylum seekers, which type of information they receive, and when and how they receive it.
Drawing on evidence from interviews with almost 900 asylum seekers, this report presents asylum-seeker experiences in submitting an appeal against a negative asylum decision. While documenting good practices, it also highlights several obstacles which make it difficult for asylum applicants to access effective remedies.
On 16 October the Swedish Presidency presented a "draft of the Stockholm Programme" that is to be adopted at the EU summit in December 2009. Following this publication, the Fundamental Rights Agency has presented the following opinion paper "FRA Comments on the Presidency Draft Stockholm Programme" available for download below.
The FRA opinion paper presents a selection primarily based on the current thematic priorities of the Agency and are inspired by the factual evidence the Agency's own research has so far produced. This contribution is therefore just a first step in a long term approach of the Agency to follow and address the issues in the Stockholm Programme.
Upon the request of the French Presidency, FRA presented an opinion on the Commission's proposal for a Council framework decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data.
The Agency contributed to the training of Schengen evaluators in the field of return on 12 and 13 November in Riga, as part of a regular event organised jointly by the European Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.
The Agency attended the first meeting to launch the EASO network of experts on vulnerability.
The Agency presented the main findings of its latest Opinions to the European Parliament.
The Agency presented its Under watchful eyes – biometrics, EU IT-systems and fundamental rights report at the Biometrics Institute’s Biometrics Congress 2018 on 18 October in London.
The EU Agency eu-LISA held its annual conference on 17 October in Tallinn.
On 23 October, the EU-funded Forced Return Monitoring II project implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) held its closing conference in Nuremberg, Germany.
On 9 October, the Agency commented on the European Commission’s proposed regulation for an Asylum and Migration Fund.
On 25 September in Brussels, at the invitation of the European Commission, the Agency engaged in the 20th meeting of the European Migration Network Return Expert Group.
The newly-published ETIAS Regulation establishes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
From 13 to 14 September, the Agency took part in the annual meeting of the Working Group on Asylum and Immigration established within the European Association of Administrative Judges.
From 4 to 5 September, the Agency took part in the 11th meeting of the Committee of Experts on Administrative Detention of Migrants, operating under the supervision of the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Cooperation.
As some governments continue to take a hard line on migration, fundamental rights remain in jeopardy, finds the Agency’s latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It points to stricter border controls, poor reception conditions, particularly affecting women and children, as well as problems with hate crime.
The Agency has evaluated the Eurosur Regulation’s impact on fundamental rights, following a request from the European Commission.
On 6 September, the Agency presented an overview of the fundamental rights situation in the EU Member States which will be subject to Schengen evaluations in 2019.
On 6 September, the Agency held an information session in Athens on the EU data protection rules related to processing the personal data of third-country nationals entering Greece in an unauthorised manner.
EU plans to overhaul national identity documents by adding fingerprints and facial imagery could put EU citizens’ privacy and personal data at risk, finds the latest Opinion from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
Long-term residents could find their sensitive personal data stored indefinitely, under new proposals for the EU’s Visa Information System (VIS). This poses privacy and data protection risks, according to latest Opinion from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
The Agency took part in the UN’s High-Level Political Forum 2018 on Sustainable Development in New York from 12 to 17 July. "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies" organised by the United Nations.
On 12 and 13 July FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty, together with the Head of Freedoms and Justice Department, Joanna Goodey, attended the Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Innsbruck.
Developments in the EU continue to be of concern as some governments adopt a tough stance on migration issues, according to the FRA’s latest periodic report on migration-related fundamental rights issues. Conditions in the reception centres in the hotspots remained problematic and various border issues also persist.