A new online handbook has been released which provides details on the rights of asylum seekers and other migrants to enter and settle in EU nations.
The Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration has been put together by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union(FRA) and covers a broad range of topics, including access to asylum procedures, procedural safeguards and legal support in asylum and return cases, detention and restrictions to freedom of movement, forced returns, and economic and social rights.
“European Union legislation relating to asylum, borders and immigration is developing fast and becoming increasingly complex,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum at a seminar held yesterday at the ECtHR in Strasbourg on the occasion of the guide’s launch. “This handbook offers, in a user friendly manner, information and assistance to practitioners in the field, improving the rights situation of migrants and asylum seekers in the EU.”
The guide can bedownloaded for free from the ECtHR website in English, French, German and Italian. Translations into Spanish, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, Croatian, Hungarian and Polish are slated to follow later in 2013.
However, not everyone is pleased about this new handbook. Anti-immigration campaigners throughout Europe have spoken out against the release of the guide, which they say will encourage more foreigners to take advantage of their immigration rules.
In Britain, the UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, said: “The publication of this guide at this time is a predictably cloth-eared act by the European Union. It will act as a further encouragement to those who wish to come to the UK from [non-EU] countries, and more importantly will be used as a guide by those wishing not to be deported from the UK after arrival.”
A Brussels spokeswoman rejected such criticisms, though, stating it was “complete nonsense” to suggest the handbook would encourage migrants to head to EU countries.