The EMN Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of the migration and asylum situation and developments in EU Member States, Norway and Georgia, as well as statistical data for the year 2021, where available at the time of publication of the report. Topics range from legal migration and integration to border control and return of third-country nationals, and the report presents a comprehensive overview of developments implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across all of these migration areas.
During 2021, the Belarus border crisis and the fall of Afghanistan’s Government resulted in sudden increases in migrants coming to the EU, including those seeking protection. In June 2021, following a geopolitical turmoil, Belarus started to facilitate the transit of migrants towards Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. As the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, most Member States engaged in evacuating and offering protection to Afghans.
EU Member States continued to experience the effects of COVID-19 and to tackle challenges of the health crisis on integration, labour market needs and living conditions of migrants. Member States typically extended the right to stay to certain third-country nationals and introduced travel restriction measures. In asylum, measures were taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in reception centres.
New forms of cooperation with third countries were established both at EU and national level, not only to prevent irregular migration, but also in the area of skilled migration. The EMN opened its doors to Georgia and Moldova, who joined the network as observer countries in March 2021.