EU Council Presidency calls for action on "secondary movements" of refugees

The Austrian Council Presidency has circulated a Note to the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) which seeks to monitor the movement of refugees from the country of arrival northwards - particularly from Greece and Italy - to other EU Member States.


Secondary movements (LIMITE doc no: 13353-18, pdf)

On 28-29 June the European Council underlined that:

"concerning the situation internally in the EU, secondary movements of asylum seekers between Member States risk jeopardizing the integrity of the Common European Asylum System and the Schengen acquis.

Furthermore, the European Council calls on Member States to take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements and to closely cooperate amongst each other to that end." [emphasis added throughout]

However:

"when it comes to the scale of secondary movements, so far there is no EU-wide clear picture."

The Presidency says that the two issues that "have to be addressed" are:

"1. Secondary movements of already registered persons

2. Unregistered asylum seekers

Secondary movements of already registered persons

A starting point to measure secondary movements of already registered persons is the number of EURODAC hits across the EU. According to the annual report of eu-LISA in 2017, there were:

• 257,163 hits related to data for applicants for international protection who have lodged a new application for international protection in another Member State,

• 99,032 hits related to data for persons apprehended while irregularly crossing the external border of a Member State who have subsequently lodged an application for international protection in another Member State and

• 129,433 hits related to data for persons found illegally staying in a Member State who had previously lodged an application for international protection in another Member State."

Eurodac data however has limitations: there may be multiple hits, minors are not registered, data of persons found illegally staying in the EU "is not stored" and data for people "irregularly" crossing external borders is only held for 18 months.

Unregistered asylum seekers

The above does not include refugees "who were able to enter the EU territory and avoid registration by circumventing external border controls".

The reasons for previously non-registered asylum applicants may also be related to persons with temporary residence permits applying for asylum, the asylum application of newly-born children, applications of visa over-stayers or the 18-months EURODAC storage period having elapsed.

'Limiting abuse and secondary movements' - Dublin Regulation

Last year, when the Council was discussing changes to the Dublin Regulation (LIMITE doc no: 9221-17, pdf) some Member State wanted to take a hard line:

"AT, BE, CY, HU: favour stricter sanctions to strongly discourage secondary movements such as detention to secure the transfer to the MS responsible."

 

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