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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
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.
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 took part in discussions on 28 October related to the regulations setting up the interoperability of EU large-scale information systems.
FRA held a webinar with representatives from integration and youth welfare authorities on 20 October on integrating young refugees when turning 18.
FRA spoke about fundamental rights safeguards in the EU’s Entry-Exit system during training at Vienna Airport for Member States from 6 to 7 October. It drew on its biometrics, EU IT-systems and fundamental rights report.
FRA took part in the EASO vulnerability network annual conference, which took place through four online meetings during September.
The handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child is now also available in Georgian.
FRA discussed key guardianship challenges and good practices during the bi-annual meeting of the European Guardianship Network.
FRA held an inception meeting on 23 October with its research network, FRANET, to discuss updating its report on Guardianship systems for children deprived of parental care in the EU.
As co-chairs of the Frontex Consultative Forum, FRA and the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) presented the Forum’s 2019 Annual Report to the Council of the EU's Frontiers Working Party on 11 September.
On 23 September, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty addressed the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard, Frontex, for the first time.
On the 27th of August, FRA joined the hearing of the European Economic and Social Committee on diversity management and the future of EU diversity policies for migrants and ethnic minorities.
Living with COVID-19 continues to constrain our daily lives, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Moving forward, governments need to ensure existing fundamental rights challenges do not worsen and vulnerable members of society do not suffer disproportionately.
Restrictions for migrants, difficulties accessing asylum procedures or entering the EU territory and lack of information are some of the main concerns the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies in its latest migration quarterly bulletin. Furthermore, the lack of online learning tools and stable internet connection deprives many asylum-seeking children of access to education.
On 21 July, FRA presented the fundamental rights issues related to the Entry-Exit System during an awareness-raising webinar organised by eu-LISA for Member States.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) publishes new practical guidance on dealing with fundamental rights concerns at the EU external land borders. The guidance offers practical tips that will help border guards respect people’s fundamental rights in their daily work.
In Europe, thousands of exploited workers are forced to work endless hours with no or little pay and without adequate safety equipment. Many of those exploited workers are migrants. Their situation has become even worse during the Coronavirus pandemic, as their working conditions do not allow physical distancing or regular handwashing. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on EU institutions and EU Member States to take all the necessary steps to stop the exploitation of migrant workers, ensure safe working conditions and fair pay.
The European Commission invited FRA to provide fundamental rights input to the 26th meeting of the European Migration Network (EMN) Return Expert Group.
Five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2019, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 11 June, FRA contributed to a Red Cross Europe webinar on assisting migrants at borders.
FRA presented practical steps on how to effectively protect children at borders during a Save the Children webinar on 9 June.