The EMN Annual Report on Migration and Asylum 2016 provides an overview of the main legal and policy development in the area of migration and asylum taking place at EU level and within participating countries. See also accompanying Statistical Annex.
The following key points were identified:
International Protection and Asylum
- In 2016 the European Commission proposed reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
- In Member States, asylum policies changed at the national level. Some Member States adopted measures to facilitate access to the territory for asylum seekers; other Member States introduced policy measures linked to the reception of asylum applicants; others introduced changes to the organisation of national reception systems.
- Some Member States carried out significant institutional reforms in their asylum systems (AT, DE, EL, ES, FI, IE, LU, LV, NO, SE).
- All Member States and Norway continued to support the European Asylum Support Office (EASO); secondment of staff for the deployment of Asylum Support Teams (AT, BE, BG, CY, CZ, DE, EE, FI, FR, HU, IE, LV, LU, MT, NL, NO, SE, SI, SK, UK); the deployment of experts for training-related activities, (AT, BE, EE, ES, DE, EL, FR, HU, IT, LT, MT, NL, SE, SI, SK); and participation in the development of common practical tools (AT, BE, DE, EL, ES HU, IT, LT, MT, NL, NO, SE, SI, SK, UK).
- Member States continued to relocate applicants from Italy and Greece as agreed by the adoption of the EU emergency relocation mechanism (5,208 relocations from Italy and 11,421 from Greece as of 13 April 2017).
Unaccompanied Minors (UAMS) and other vulnerable groups
- Member States reported on the adoption of new legislative / policy measures in 2016 aiming to safeguard the rights and welfare of unaccompanied minors (AT, CZ, HR, EE, EL, FI, FR, IT, LV, MT, NL, NO, SE, SI, SK, UK).
Legal Migration and Integration
- Several Member States Several reported on efforts to attract highly qualified workers as part of the global competition for talent (AT, EE, FI, FR, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, NL, UK).
- A number of Member States reported on actual and planned measures regarding migrant entrepreneurs (AT, EE, ES, EL, FI, FR, HU, IE, LV, LT, NL, SK) and investors (CZ, EE, FI, IE, LV, LU, NL).
- Initiatives to make entry conditions more favourable for particular shortage occupations were adopted in several Member States (BG, EE, EL, IE, LV, LT, LU, NL).
- A significant number of Member States reported on their actions to transpose and implement the Intra-corporate Transferees Directive (AT, BE, BG, HR, CY, EE, FI, FR, IT, HU, LV, LT, LU, NL, SE, SK, CZ) and the Seasonal Workers Directive (AT, BE, BG, EE, FI, FR, IT HU, LV, LT, LU, NL, SE, SK, CZ, CY).
- A few countries reported activities to prevent and manage misuse of the legal immigration channels by third-country national workers (BG, ES, LT, LV, LU, NL).
- Member States introduced measures to facilitate the admission and stay of third-country students and researchers aimed at: providing access to the national labour market during studies and after graduation (AT, BG, FR, IE, LT, LU, LV, NL, NO); facilitating and simplifying entry and stay conditions (CZ, EE, IE, LT, NL, UK); addressing misuse of the student route to migration (IE, MT, NL, SK) and transposing the Students and Researchers Directive ( BG, CZ, FI, HU).
- Some Member States planned or introduced legislative measures that restricted the family reunification rights of certain groups, such as refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, while providing for exceptions if the sponsor was an (unaccompanied) minor (AT, DE, FI, NO, SE) or to provide for new procedural requirements for applicants in this category (IE).
- Member States reported on new or planned laws and policies aiming to regulate and harmonise access to long-term residence (CY, DE, EE, FR, HU, IT, LV, NO, SE, SK) and intra-EU mobility (DE, HU, EE, LU, SK).
- In June 2016, the Commission adopted an Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals. Initiatives to foster the integration of specific groups were reported by a significant number of Member States (AT, BE, BG, CY, CZ, DE, EE, EL, FI, HR, HU, IT, LT, LU, LV, NL, UK).
- Efforts to maximise the development impact of migration and mobility have been highlighted with an emphasis on Member States’ financial commitments in 2016 (AT, BE, DE, ES, FR, HU, IT, LV, LU, MT, NL, SI, HR, SE, SK).
Securing Europe’s External Borders
- In 2016, a substantial number of Member States introduced or planned new border control measures, including in relation to the development of advanced passenger databases / IT systems (BE, CY, CZ, DE, EE, FI, FR, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, SE, SI, SK), and the deployment of equipment for border checks and border surveillance (AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, EE, ES, FI, FR, HR, HU, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, NL, NO, SI).
- Thirteen Member States reported the establishment or continuation of cooperation agreements with third countries in the area of border management (AT, BE, BG, DE, EL, EL, FI, FR, HU, IT, LT, LV, MT, SK).
Irregular Migration and Return
- At EU level important developments against irregular immigration took place; establishment, of a European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC), adoption of Council Conclusions on migrant smuggling (6995/16); and a new Migration Partnership Framework.
- Some Member States reported actions related to the introduction of temporary border controls (AT, BE, DE, NO, SE) in line with the Schengen Borders Code, until mid-May 2017 (AT) and beyond (NO, DE, SE).
- The European Commission also put forward a number of legislative proposals (most notably a proposal to establish a European Border and Coast Guard, adopted in December 2016) to support Member States with a view to increase in the number of effective returns. The EU -Turkey Statement had among its aims the facilitation of swift returns to Turkey from the Greek islands.
- The majority of Member States introduced new policies or practices to prevent unsafe migration from third countries of origin and transit (AT, BE, BG, DE, EE, FI, FR, HR, IE, IT, LU, LV, MT, NL, SE, UK).
- Several Member States amended their legislation to upgrade the legal terminology in the field of return and modify their return procedure, including to introduce a stricter return policy (BE, BG, EE, DE, FR, HU, IE, LV, NL and SE)
- Several Member States reported on their (planned) negotiation and/or signature of protocols implement EU readmission agreements with third countries (AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, FR, HU, LT, LU, LV, NL, NO, SK), while five Member States also mentioned other types of agreements on return and readmission with third countries (AT, BE, FI, FR, and SE).
Actions Addressing Trafficking in Human Beings
- Member States either expanded or launched new national action plans, strategies or legal instruments in the area of Trafficking in Human Beings (BE, CZ, DE, EE, FI, FR, IE, IT, LT, LU, NO, SE).
 24 EMN NCPs (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway)