European Union Asylum Policies: Lessons learned from front-line practitioners and asylum seekers
Author: Sara Carrasco-Granger, University Rey Juan Carlos
Findings from the PERCEPTIONS Project revealed shortcomings in the European Union´s asylum policy at the regional and national levels, shedding light on specific challenges in need of being addressed. Namely, the lack of safe migration routes, the inadequate application of the asylum determination process, an excessively restrictive asylum regime, and detrimental conditions endured by asylum seekers during the review of their asylum claim.
Interviewed asylum seekers have reported having used irregular migration routes due to lack of better options, exposing them to violence and abuse during their journey, as well as life-threatening physical conditions. Furthermore, the dependence of asylum seekers on irregular migratory routes to reach safety increases their dependence on human smugglers, strengthening networks involved in human trafficking and other criminal activities. Interviewees, including asylum seekers and front-line practitioners, have highlighted how unfavourable conditions faced once in Europe also lead to acute levels of vulnerability. Restrictions on their freedom of movement when in refugee camps, within a given country, and within EU States, as well as restrictions on their right to work, have proven to be detrimental to their physical and mental wellbeing. In addition, the lack of adequate subsidy and support when in need seriously infringe upon asylum seekers’ ability to fulfil key social and economic rights such as education, healthcare, adequate housing, and decent living standards, with several reports of asylum seekers to having become destitute for given periods of time.