As part of the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Return Directive and other existing laws have undergone revisions. Emphasizing the importance of upholding procedural safeguards and safeguarding individual basic rights, MEPs approved a draft resolution on the Return Directive in December 2020. In April 2023, the Parliament established a negotiating stance on the regulations for screening and asylum processes before talks with the Council. Notably, in 2022, 141,060 individuals were denied entrance into the EU, primarily due to lacking a valid visa or residence permit (23%) or an inability to provide sufficient justification for  the duration of their stay (23%).

Humanitarian Concerns

Law enforcement personnel in Western Balkan nations frequently mistreat those who are attempting to enter the EU in search of safety and dignity. Rather than protecting immigrants’ fundamental rights, state officials are intimidating and abusing individuals and preventing those who are seeking international protection from accessing asylum processes. 

The governments in the area need to put an immediate stop to these infractions and start the procedures necessary to guarantee the security and respect of those relocating inside their borders. Human rights violations against migrants can include denials of economic, social, and cultural rights like housing, health care, and education, as well as denials of civil and political rights like torture, arbitrary incarceration, and lack of due process. 

According to Home Affair Commissioner Ylva Johansson , 340,000 decisions to deport individuals were made in EU member states last year; however, only 60% of those instances involved attempts by European authorities to get in touch with the migrants’ home countries in order to secure their return.

International Treaties

Consistently, the European Parliament has called for Member States and EU agencies to prioritize basic rights to safeguard the EU’s external borders that is not possible without robust Models of Integration in Europe. Various global organizations and concerned entities have criticized or initiated legal actions against the practice of push backs at the EU’s exterior frontiers. In response to potential violations of basic rights, the European Commission explored a migration and asylum agreement in September 2020.

It included a proposal on pre-entry screening of third-country nationals at EU external borders. Based on Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has denounced such tactics as collective expulsions in a number of rulings (ECHR). “Any measure of the competent authority compelling aliens as a group to leave the country, except where such a measure is taken after and on the basis of a reasonable and objective examination of the particular cases of each individual alien of the group,” is how the former European Commission on Human Rights defined collective expulsions.

Economic Contributions

Home Affair Commissioner Ylva Johansson encouraged the 27 member nations of the EU to take advantage of the deportation flights, saying that the EU border agency Fortex and coastguard “is well equipped” to carry them out. It depends on the individual having a steady and consistent source of income, health insurance, and compliance with integration procedures as mandated by the EU member state. Additionally, the individual must not pose a risk to public safety or policy. 

Give non-EU nationals a set of rights comparable to those of EU citizens in terms of employment, education, social security, and access to goods and services. Facilitate their mobility to other EU nations for work and study. Ensure that non-EU nationals who have resided in an EU country for at least five years have a permanent and secure residence status.

Ignoring Root Causes

The shift includes expedited screening of illegal entrance, border holding facilities, accelerated deportation of asylum refused individuals, and a solidarity mechanism to alleviate pressure on southern states experiencing large migration surges. According to Amnesty International, the deal would set back European asylum law by decades and is intended to make it more difficult for individuals to obtain protection. As a result, there will probably be a rise in suffering at every stage of a person’s asylum-seeking journey through the EU. The accord still has to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the European Council, which represent the 27 member states, before it can become official union legislation, most likely in 2024.

Integration Challenges

Significant progress has been achieved recently on a global scale to provide underprivileged communities with access to cheap financial services. Millions of individuals have benefited from an advanced, international financial system and been able to receive loans and establish credit thanks to services like mobile money transfers and affordable microcredit. 

However, due to a number of issues including poor identification, unfair business practices, and low financial literacy, many refugees and other migrants in the Global North may have trouble obtaining financial services. Considering that a bank account is frequently required to gain formal work, secure housing, and handle costs, these hurdles may hinder migrants from completely integrating into their host communities and may have far-reaching consequences. 

Financial Challenges

For certain migrants in some areas, the terrain is rough and unique. For example, since the Russian invasion of 2022, millions of displaced Ukrainians have benefited from reduced fees and streamlined onboarding procedures provided by EU regulators and financial service providers, positioning the EU as a global leader in financial inclusion. This has made it easier for these people to access banks, credit cards, and other financial services. However, other groups have not always received the same accommodations, and many newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers face financial obstacles. Five variables often impact financial access for migrants and asylum seekers escaping challenging circumstances: legal status, financial history, socioeconomic standing, length of displacement, and language competency in the host nation.

Long Term Solutions

After the Parliament passed its stance on changes to the external border process for handling illegal migrants in April 2023, talks with the Council will now start. The modifications are intended to better address the difficulties and complexities of managing migration while guaranteeing the protection and respect of the needs and rights of irregular migrants. 

It suggests that asylum petitions might be processed more quickly and easily following screening. All of these, including appeals, need to be finished in a month. If a claim is denied or dismissed, the unsuccessful applicant must be reimbursed within a span of 12 weeks. 

Travelers from nations where visas are not required must first get an electronic travel authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (Etias), an electronic program that waives travel restrictions. 

The authorization permits numerous entry into the Schengen Area for stays of up to 90 days during a six-month period, and it is valid for three years or until the passport expires. It is anticipated to debut in 2024. 

The use of detention would be restricted by the new regulations. The EU nation is required to provide accommodation for the asylum seeker while their asylum claim is being evaluated or their repatriation procedure is being handled. Detention needs to be reserved for extreme circumstances.