Migration - Key Fundamental Rights Concerns (1st Quarter 2019)
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) reports alarming changes in the rights of migrants and refugees in several EU countries, threatening prospects of social and labour market integration for many individuals. FRA’s overview on migration for the first quarter of 2019 points to increasing restrictions during this period in access to housing, healthcare and other critical areas for integration.
Greece: The Ministry of Migration Policy in Greece decided to exclude individuals who were recognised as refugees before 31 July 2017 from receiving housing assistance under the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation (ESTIA) programme, except for those belonging to vulnerable groups. NGOs are concerned that this will increase homelessness and negatively affect access to services, social benefits and continued access to education for children.
Germany: There have been reports of cases where severely ill individuals did not receive necessary healthcare and where access to healthcare was made dependent on the outcome of asylum procedures. The Federal Working Group of Psycho-Social Support Centres for Refugees and Victims of Torture also reported an increasing tendency for dismissal of asylum seekers’ applications for psychotherapy. On average, asylum seekers waited 7.3 months for access to psychotherapy.
Denmark: The Parliament passed a bill envisaging that all residence permits for refugees and their family members would be temporary, although it would still be possible to apply for permanent residence after some years. The bill will also make it possible to limit the number of residence permits for family reunification if the number of asylum applications in Denmark ‘increases significantly over a short period’.
Poland: Authorities continued to classify as ‘secret’ several files concerning residence permits and asylum. This allows authorities to deny applicants and their legal representatives access to these documents both in the administrative and judicial review phases of their asylum or residence permit applications.
Austria: The Ministry of the Interior made numerous proposals in the area of asylum, including accommodation in departure centres during the admission procedure and imposition of curfews.
In addition to these and other recent developments, the report highlights persistent problems regarding the rights of migrants and refugees. FRA has published migration overviews since September 2015 and collects data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in EU Member States that are particularly affected by large migration movements.