Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb

Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb
for 2019
Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb
Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb
Risk Analysis for 2019
Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb
Plac Europejski 6, 00-844 Warsaw, Poland
T +48 22 205 95 00
F +48 22 205 95 01

Warsaw, February 2019
Risk Analysis Unit
Frontex reference number: 1218 / 2019

Cover photo: Border guards on patrol – Indalo Operation © Frontex, 2018 – Francesco Malavolta
All rights reserved.

Paper version:                                         PDF version:
TT-05-18-089-EN-C                                      TT-05-18-089-EN-N
ISBN 978-92-9471-316-2                                 ISBN 978-92-9471-315-5
doi:10.2819/224322                                     doi:10.2819/86682


This is a Frontex staff working document. This publication or its contents do not imply the expression of
any opinion whatsoever on the part of Frontex concerning the legal status of any country, territory or city
or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
All maps and charts included in this report are the sole property of Frontex and any unauthorised use is
prohibited. Frontex disclaims any liability with respect to the boundaries, names and designations used
on the maps.
WThroughout the report, references to Kosovo* are marked with an asterisk to indicate that this designation
is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo
declaration of independence.

The Frontex Risk Analysis for 2019 has been prepared by the Frontex Risk Analysis Unit. During the course of
developing this product, many colleagues at Frontex and outside con­tributed to it and their assistance is
hereby acknowledged with gratitude.

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Table of contents

1. Preface 6

2. Summary 8

3. Introduction 11

4. Methodology 12

5.	Situational analysis of 2018 15
    5.1. Surveillance: Overview 16
    5.2. Border checks: Clandestine entry 18
    5.3. Border checks: Refusals of entry 19
    5.4. Border checks: Fraudulent documents 20
    5.5. Situation of asylum in the EU by EASO 22
    5.6. Illegal stayers and arrested people smugglers 24
    5.7. In the EU: Returns 25

6.	Featured analyses 27
    6.1. Interviews of migrants 28
    6.2. Children in migration: overview of arrivals at the external borders in 2018 30
    6.3. Making return data more useful and an outlook for 2019 34
    6.4. From crisis response to preparedness: changing priorities in Member States’ migration policy 36

7. Outlook and conclusions    38

8. Statistical annex 40

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List of acronyms used

BCP      border-crossing point
CRI       common risk indicator
EASO       European Asylum Support Office
EASO EPS    European Asylum Support Office Early Warning and Preparedness System
EC           European Commission
EDF           European Union Document-Fraud
EDF-RAN        European Union Document-Fraud Risk Analysis Network
EMN	European Migration Network
EU              European Union
EU+              28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland
Eurodac           European Dactyloscopy
Eurojust           European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit
Europol             European Police Office
Eurostat            Statistical Office of the European Union
FRAN                 Frontex Risk Analysis Network
Frontex               European Border and Coast Guard Agency (formerly European Agency for the
                       Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of
                       the European Union)
FTF                    foreign terrorist fighter
ICJ                     International Court of Justice
ID                       identification document
IOM                       International Organization for Migration
JO                         Joint Operation
MRCC                        Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre
MS                           EU Member State
NGO                           non-governmental organisation
SAC                            Schengen-Associated Country
SAR                             search and rescue
UK                               The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UNHCR                             United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNSCR                              United Nations Security Council resolution

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                                                                                      Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Risk Analysis for 2019 - ReliefWeb
Portuguese Navy on patrol – Themis Operation, 2018
                                                                                                                          © Frontex

1. Preface
In 2018, the number of detections of illegal       The Eastern Mediterranean saw only         migratory flows, but also for the effec-
border-crossings reached its lowest level       slightly fewer detections than the West-      tive identification of vulnerable groups.
in five years, but migratory pressure re-       ern Mediterranean route. With 56 561 il-          Checks at the external borders are one
mained relatively high at the EU’s exter-       legal border-crossings, the pressure was      of the main safeguards of the Schengen
nal borders. The total figure fell 27 % from    34 % higher than in the preceding year        Area. Frontex monitors Europe’s borders
the previous year to 150 114 and was 92 % be-   due to the increase in land crossings         24 hours a day, seven days a week, help-
low the peak of the migratory crisis in 2015.   from Turkey to Greece.                        ing the EU face challenges and threats
This was in large part due to the dramatic         Frontex, the European Border and           at its borders, including threats related
fall in the number of migrants on the Cen-      Coast Guard Agency, maintains a strong        to cross-border crime and prevention of
tral Mediterranean route, where the num-        presence at Europe’s external borders.        terrorism. The Agency is able to respond
ber of detections plunged 80 % to 23 485.       The Agency ran three permanent oper-          quickly and effectively to challenges at
    Meanwhile, both the Western Med-            ations in Spain, Greece and Italy, as-        the external borders, shoulder-to-shoul-
iterranean and the Eastern Mediter-             sisting EU Member States that faced the       der with EU Member States and Schen-
ranean routes saw an increase in the            highest migratory pressure. On average,       gen Associated Countries. This integrated
detections of illegal crossings last year.      some 1 500 border guards are deployed         approach, which brings together the ef-
    The Western Mediterranean became            in Frontex joint operations, along with       forts of Frontex and other EU agencies,
the most frequently used route into Eu-         vessels, planes, helicopters, patrol cars     along with EU institutions and national
rope. The pressure on Spain has been ris-       and other equipment.                          authorities, is a key factor to address ir-
ing over the last years, and the number            Last year, Frontex began to collect de-    regular migration and cross-border crime
of detections in 2018 reached 57 034, dou-      tailed data on the sex and the age of ir-     at the external borders.
ble the number from 2017. The number of         regular migrants. Nearly one in five of all       Despite the falling migratory pres-
departures from Morocco increased five-         the detected migrants last year claimed       sure in the Central Mediterranean, the
fold. Most of the migrants taking this          to be under the age of 18. This new de-       fight against criminal smuggling net-
route last year came from sub-Saharan           velopment is crucial not only for a bet-      works at the external borders remains
countries, but the number of Moroccan           ter monitoring and understanding of the       in our focus. In 2018, Frontex continued
nationals also increased significantly.         dynamics and composition of incoming          collecting information from voluntary

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© Frontex
interviews with migrants in the Cen-          reinforcing and coordinating border con-         The situation in the countries out-
tral, Eastern and Western Mediterranean       trol activities in Member States.            side the EU also has a direct impact on
area in the framework of PeDRA (Pro-              In 2018, the Agency substantially        Europe’s borders. Frontex is monitoring
cessing Personal Data for Risk Analysis).     strengthened its activities aimed at         the countries neighbouring the EU iden-
The vast majority (84 %) of the migrants      returning irregular migrants to their        tified through risk analysis as countries
interviewed claimed that they were fa-        countries of origin. Last year, we helped    of origin and / or transit for illegal immi-
cilitated by smuggling networks. Bor-         Member States return 13 729 people who       gration. The aim is to better address chal-
der guards are also the first filter at the   do not have the right to remain in the EU    lenges at EU borders. Frontex has become
external borders when it comes to the         to their countries of origin. We launched    more active in countries neighbouring
detection of potential terrorist threats.     a successful trial of conducting returns     the EU that are affected by migration
This is done through screening, registra-     on commercial flights to nearly 50 des-      and cross-border crime, including the
tion, document checks or voluntary in-        tinations and we have significantly in-      Western Balkans, where the EU signed
terviews. We work closely with Europol        creased our pre-return assistance to         an agreement on cooperation on bor-
and other European agencies sharing           Member States.                               der management between Albania and
this information.                                 To help Member States better prepare     the European Border and Coast Guard
    Over the last few years, the European     for potential challenges at their borders,   Agency. The Agency also has three liai-
Union and its Member States have been         for the second year Frontex conducted        son officers outside the EU based in Tur-
facing major challenges related to mi-        the vulnerability assessment to evalu-       key, Niger and Serbia.
gration and security. As a response, a        ate the border control capabilities of EU        Together with its partners, Frontex,
number of changes have been imple-            member states.                               the European Border and Coast Guard
mented when it comes to border con-               Last year, the Agency further devel-     Agency, will continue to contribute to
trol and management. These include            oped its network of liaison officers to EU   the safety and security at the EU’s ex-
the amendment of the Schengen Bor-            Member States. Those officers help Fron-     ternal borders and its citizens and to the
ders Code, the establishment of the EU        tex in the exchange of information with      well-functioning of the European Area of
Entry / Exit System and the adoption of       partners at national level, and contribute   Freedom, Security and Justice.
the regulation establishing the Euro-         to the vulnerability assessment by col-
pean Travel Information and Authori-          lecting relevant information and data.
sation System (ETIAS).                            The European Border and Coast Guard
    Frontex will play a central role in im-   Agency is moving towards owning or
plementing the regulation governing the       leasing an increasingly larger portion
ETIAS, a system for granting electronic       of its equipment, including vehicles,
pre-authorisation to travellers who do        planes and vessels, to be able to better
not need a visa to visit the Schengen         support Member States. Last year, the
area. The Agency will set up and man-         Agency leased surveillance planes and
age the ETIAS Central Unit, which will        tested the use of remote piloted aircraft
provide operational support, as well as       systems in its operations.

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2. Summary
Member States reported 150 114 illegal            On the Eastern Mediterranean route,      remained the most common nationality
border-crossings in 2018, 27 % fewer than     the most significant development of 2018     due to the effects of the Turkish reloca-
in 2017. The most decisive development        was arguably the implementation of a re-     tion and return programme only tak-
for the overall level of migratory pressure   location and return programme in Tur-        ing effect during the second half of the
in 2018 in fact dates back to July 2017,      key for irregular Syrian migrants, which     year, Moroccans were the second most
when the sudden reversal in the num-          shifted the nationality makeup on the        common, before Afghans and Iraqis.
ber of irregular migrants detected in the     Eastern Mediterranean Sea route in the       Turkish nationals, as mentioned above,
Central Mediterranean took place. This        second half of the year.                     increased in number and were the fifth-
reversal continues to stand as the most           The Western Balkan route in 2018 saw     most common nationality in 2018.
significant development at the EU’s ex-       shifts between the Greek-Albanian cor-          In 2018, Member States reported an
ternal borders since the implementation       ridor and the Serbian-centred corridor.      increase in the detection of clandestine
of the EU-Turkey statement. The decreas-      Throughout the year, most of the migra-      entries. Nevertheless, the number of
ing trend in migrant arrivals on the Cen-     tory pressure on the route materialised      detected attempts of clandestine entry
tral Mediterranean route, which lasted        at the Bosnian and Herzegovinian-Croa-       continued to be arguably below that to
throughout 2018, was the primary rea-         tian border, and also, to a lesser extent,   be expected in times of tightened bor-
son for the decrease in the number of il-     on Serbia’s border with Hungary, Croa-       der surveillance at the green and blue
legal border-crossings vis-à-vis 2017. On     tia and Romania.                             borders.
this route, the other third countries of          At the Eastern Land Border in 2018,         Secondary movements continued on a
departure – Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey –     another third country, Russia, created       large scale during 2018. Countries with-
equally had fewer successful departures.      with a temporary change in its visa pol-     out external land and sea borders re-
Egypt in 2018 did not see any departures      icy an opportunity to reach the EU’s ex-     ported thousands of inland detections
of migrants to Europe on the sea route.       ternal borders. For the 2018 FIFA World      of illegal stay. These could however be
    With the number of illegal border-        Cup™, Russia allowed travelers visa-free     overstays after having entered via the
crossings plummeting on the Central           entry to the Russian Federation for those    air borders. Yet Eurodac hits of both cate-
Mediterranean route, the spotlight            in possession of match tickets. This ena-    gories, combined having registered a to-
moved onto the Western Mediterranean          bled migrants to reach the EU’s external     tal higher than illegal border-crossings
route, where in 2018 in particular Moroc-     borders via Russia, but also via Belarus     in 2018, are evidence of the scale of sec-
can and sub-Saharan migrants crossed          and Ukraine, with migrants attempting        ondary movements. In this context, the
the Strait of Gibraltar or the Alboran Sea    to enter the EU illegally. This contrib-     increase in the inland detection of peo-
in record numbers, making the West-           uted to an increase in detections com-       ple smugglers (+13 %) is also an indica-
ern Mediterranean route the most fre-         pared with 2017, however remaining at        tion of the reliance on organised crime
quently used route into Europe in 2018.       much lower level than on other routes.       networks to smuggle migrants to their
Morocco was also the country of depar-            Corresponding to the changes in the      countries of destination. In addition, a
ture for a little more than half of the mi-   flows of the main migration routes, the      significant increase in document fraud
grants that targeted the Canary Islands       migrant population in 2018 changed its       detections on secondary movements was
on the Western African route.                 nationality makeup – while Syrians           recorded in 2018. In fact, the number of

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Latest situation                         (2017)
                                                                                            2018         Reported cases              2018

                                                                                             (1 622)                  Detections of illegal
                                                                                             2 258                 border-crossing at BCPs

                                                                                            (6 670)                         of fraudulent
                                                                                             6 667                        document users

                                                                                            (10 246)                            Detections
                                                                                            10 642                           of facilitators

document fraud detections on second-             The number of effective returns in
ary movements inside the EU/Schengen          2018 once again fell short of the decisions
area reached its highest level since 2013.    issued by Member States to return mi-                    (155 945)                   Returns
   The year 2018 once again signified a       grants: Around 148 000 migrants who
year of heavy workload for border guards      were not granted asylum or subsidiary
                                                                                                        148 121                  (effective)

in Member States, who were faced with         protection were returned to their coun-
another increase in entry and exit checks     tries of origin, little more than half the
to be performed at border crossing points     total number of return decisions issued.
with a further rise in passenger flows        In particular, no measurable progress
and the 2017 expansion of systematic          was made as regards returns to West Af-                  (204 750)                  of illegal
checks on those passengers enjoying the       rica – while the number of return deci-                                      border-crossing
right of free movement under EU law.          sions issued increased by roughly 80 %                    150 114             between BCPs
This meant at times delays for passen-        compared with 2017, effective returns
gers at certain border-crossing points.       remained unchanged, reflecting defi-
The second line, too, was in many Mem-        cits in cooperation and administrative
ber States kept busy by for instance an       capacity in countries of origin.
increase in refusals of entry along the          Looking ahead, there is no indi-
external borders, but also by the afore-      cation that the workload for border
                                                                                                       (183 019)                  Refusals
                                                                                                                                  of entry
mentioned increase in document fraud          guards will decrease anytime soon,                       190 930
detections on secondary movements. In         with systematic checks in an environ-
particular, at the borders with Ukraine,      ment of increasing passenger flows
the increase in issued refusals of entry to   on the one hand and persistent mi-
Ukrainians was significant. The catego-       gratory pressure on the green and
ries of refusals reported imply that visa     blue borders on the other. Eu-

                                                                                                   (282 075)
liberalisation wrongly suggests to trav-      ropean border management
ellers that they no longer need to justify    will continue to be tested by                                                        Returns
the purpose and conditions of stay and        unforeseeable events and                                                          (decisions)
present sufficient means of subsistence
on request. As regards exit checks, ille-
                                              factors – beyond irregular
                                              migration and into cross-
                                                                                                   286 875
gal stay detections on exit at air, land      border crime.
and sea borders increased slightly. This
too then meant an increase in workload
in particular for the second line of bor-
der checks.

                                                                                                  (435 084)
                                                                                                                                of persons
                                                                                                   361 636                         illegally

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Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
3. Introduction
                  The Frontex Risk Analysis for 2019 has       cooperation, cooperation with third coun-
                  been specifically designed to provide an     tries, measures within the Schengen area
                  overview to help in making informed          related to border control, return of third-
                  decisions on both common European            country nationals, use of state-of-the-art
                  investments and concerted actions to         technology, quality control mechanisms
                  improve the management of external           and solidarity mechanisms. These com-
                  borders and uphold the internal secu-        ponents, together with the three hori-
                  rity of the Union.                           zontal components – fundamental rights,
                     Frontex operational activities aim at     training, research and innovation, col-
                  strengthening border security by sup-        lectively form the main elements of the
                  porting Member States’ actions regard-       technical and operational strategy for Eu-
                  ing the implementation of EU measures        ropean Integrated Border Management.
                  for the management of external borders.           Clearly, this major change has im-
                  The coordination of operational activi-      portant implications for the analytical
                  ties contributes to a more efficient allo-   work performed by Frontex as its risk
                  cation of Member States’ resources and       analysis should cover all aspects of Inte-
                  better protection of the area of freedom,    grated Border Management and develop
                  security and justice. In this context, the   an early warning mechanism. Therefore,
                  Risk Analysis for 2019 concentrates on       as much as possible, these new elements
                  the scope of Frontex operational activi-     have been integrated into this annual
                  ties and, in particular, on irregular mi-    risk analysis.
                  gration at the external borders of the EU         This annual report is structured as
                  and the Schengen Associated Countries.       follows: (1) situational picture for the
                      Since the Regulation (EU) 2016 / 1624    European Border and Coast Guard with
                  came into effect, the mandate of Frontex     emphasis on identified migratory trends
                  has significantly been enhanced to en-       and surveillance activities utilising a set
                  sure an efficient implementation of Eu-      of reliable indicators on irregular migra-
                  ropean Integrated Border Management          tion; (2) featured analyses on key risks
                  as a shared responsibility of the Union,     affecting the security of the external bor-
                  the Agency and of the national author-       ders and / or internal security; and finally
                  ities of the Member States.                  (3) a presentation of outlook.
                      The European Integrated Border Man-           The Agency and in particular its Risk
                  agement consists of 11 strategic compo-      Analysis Unit would like to express its
                  nents defined in Article 4 of the Agency’s   gratitude to all members of FRAN in
                  Regulation. These are: border control,       Member States and third country part-
                  including measures in relation to traf-      ners for their efforts in providing data
                  ficking in human beings and terrorism,       and information, as well as EASO,
                  search and rescue operations, analysis       ­Europol, the EU Agency for Fundamen-
                  of risks for internal security, coopera-      tal Rights, and all colleagues involved in
                  tion with Member States, inter-agency         the preparation of this report.

© Frontex, 2018

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                                                                  Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
4. Methodology
A coherent and comprehensive analy-           of facilitators; detections of fraudulent        Member States’ data processed by
sis of the risks affecting security at the    documents; return decisions; effective        Frontex are not treated as official statis-
external borders requires, above all, the     returns and passenger flow data (when         tics and thus may occasionally vary from
adoption of common indicators. Consist-       available). Data on asylum applica-           those officially published by national au-
ent monitoring of these indicators al-        tions for 2018 were still being collected     thorities. Throughout 2018, some FRAN
lows effective measures to be taken on        within the FRAN, but Frontex increas-         members performed backdated updates
the ground. The analysis needs to iden-       ingly works with data collected by EASO,      of their 2017 statistics. These updates
tify the risks that arise at the external     which has provided the dedicated sec-         have been accounted for in this docu-
borders themselves and those that arise       tion on asylum.                               ment, hence some data presented here
in third countries.                              The data were categorised by border        may differ from those presented a year
    The backbone of the Risk Analysis for     type (land, air or sea) and those on land     ago in the Risk Analysis for 2018.
2019 is the monthly statistics exchanged      borders were additionally grouped by             Member States were not requested to
among Member States within the frame-         border section with neighbouring third        answer specific questions in support of
work of the FRAN. For the Risk Analy-         countries. The data exchanged within          this analysis. Rather, bimonthly analyt-
sis for 2019, the key indicators collected    the FRAN are compiled and analysed on         ical reports and incident reports of Mem-
through the FRAN were: detections of          a quarterly basis. Priority is given to the   ber States routinely collected within the
illegal border-crossing at the green and      use of the data for management purposes       FRAN, as well as other Member States’
blue border or at BCPs; refusals of en-       and to their fast sharing among Member        contributions submitted in 2018 were im-
try; detections of illegal stay; detections   State border-control authorities.             portant sources of i­ nformation, e­ specially

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© Frontex, 2018

as regards the analysis of routes and modi     contrast, the borders between the Schen-          Consistent with other law-enforce-
operandi. Additionally, the outcomes of        gen Associated Countries and Schengen         ment indicators, variation in admin-
debriefing activities carried out in the       Member States are considered as internal      istrative data related to border control
framework of Joint Operations consti-          borders. For the indicators on detections     depends on several factors. In this case,
tuted essential analytical material.           of facilitators, illegal stay and asylum,     the number of detections of illegal bor-
   Open-source information was also ef-        statistics are also reported for detections   der-crossing and refusals of entry are
fectively exploited, especially in identify-   at the land borders between Schengen          both functions of the amount of effort
ing the main ‘push and pull factors’ for       Member States and those Member States         spent, respectively, on detecting mi-
irregular migration to the EU. Among           that have either not joined the Schen-        grants and the actual flow of irregular
others, these sources included reports         gen area yet in full (Bulgaria, Croatia,      migrants to the EU. For example, in-
issued by government agencies, inter-          Cyprus, Romania) or have opted to stay        creased detections of illegal border-cross-
national and non-governmental organ-           out of it (the UK, Ireland). Thus, a total    ing might be due to a real increase in the
isations, as well as mainstream news           for Member States and Schengen Asso-          flow of irregular migrants, or may in fact
agencies and official EU reports.              ciated Countries as a whole can be pre-       be an outcome of more resources made
   External borders, a term often used         sented. It was not possible to make the       available to detect them. In exceptional
in this report, refer to the borders be-       aforementioned distinction for air and        cases, increased resources may produce
tween Member States and third coun-            sea borders because Member States do          a rise in reported detections while effec-
tries. The borders between the Schengen        not habitually differentiate between ex-      tively masking the actual decrease in the
Associated Countries (Norway, Iceland,         tra-EU and intra-EU air and sea connec-       migratory flow, resulting from a strong
and Switzerland) and third countries are       tions but tend to aggregate data for all      deterrent effect.
also considered as external borders. By        arrivals per airport.

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                                                                                               Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
5. Situational analysis of 2018

                                   Operation Themis, 2018
                                               © Frontex
Eastern Borders route

Detections of illegal border-                                                                                                    1 084
crossing at the EU’s external
borders, 2018

150 114
(204 750 in 2017)
                                                                                                                                                      Black Sea route
Route                                                                               Western Balkan route

in 2018        Top three nationalities                                                                    Afghanistan    1 669                        0
               Syria        14 378                                                  5 869                 Pakistan       1 017                        (537)
(in 2017)      Morocco      13 269                                                  (12 179)              Iran             980
               Afghanistan 12 666

                                                                                               Circular route from
                                                                                               Albania to Greece

                                                                                               4 550                                 Eastern Mediterranean route
                                                                                               (6 396)                                                    Syria       13 906
                                                                                                                                     56 561               Afghanistan 10 738
                                                                                                                                     (42 319)             Iraq         8 970
                                         Western Mediterranean route
                                                    Unknown   25 293
                                         57 034     Morocco   11 723
                                         (23 063)   Guinea     4 971
       African route
                                                                       Central Mediterranean route
       1 531                                                           23 485
                                                                                   Tunisia        5 182
                                                                                                                 Please note that selection of these border sections does not
       (421)                                                                       Eritrea        3 529
                                                                       (118 962)   Sudan          2 037          adequately capture developments at other, internal, sections of the route.

    5.1. Surveillance: Overview

    For the third year in a row following           detections stands at its lowest level since            route. Departures from Algeria fell by al-
    Europe’s migration crisis of 2015, the          2013. Thanks to enhanced data collection,              most half compared with 2017, while de-
    number of detections of illegal border-         the share of women in the overall irreg-               partures from Turkey via the Aeagan and
    crossing along the EU’s external bor-           ular migrant population can be more ac-                Ionian Sea fell by 37 %. The route hence re-
    ders fell significantly. In 2018, Member        curately determined at 18 %. Nearly one                corded its lowest number of intercepted
    States reported 150 114 detections of il-       in five of the detected migrants claimed               migrants since 2012. The share of claimed
    legal border-crossing along the EU’s ex-        to be under the age of 18.                             minors on this route increased slightly
    ternal borders, which represents a 27 %                                                                in 2018 compared with 2017, recording a
    decrease compared with 2017 (around a           Central Mediterranean route                            share of 19 % (84 % of them unaccompa-
    twelfth of the 1.8 million detections at                                                               nied). Tunisians and Eritreans were the
    the height of the migration crisis). The        On the Central Mediterranean route,                    two most represented nationalities on
    decrease in 2018 was almost exclusively         departures from all third countries                    this route, together accounting for more
    due to fewer detections on the Central          dropped in 2018. Noteworthy, Tunisia                   than one third of all detected migrants.
    Mediterranean route. The continuously           replaced Libya as the main country of
    mounting migratory pressure on the              departure for migrants detected on the                 Western Mediterranean route
    Western Mediterranean route and the             Central Mediterranean route in Septem-
    once again rising pressure on the East-         ber, October and December (in the other                After more than doubling between 2016
    ern Mediterranean route caution – inter         months it was Libya). Importantly, de-                 and 2017, detections on the Western Med-
    alia indications attesting to the persistent    partures from Libya, having fallen by                  iterranean route once again more than
    migratory pressure – against overempha-         87 %, accounted for the vast majority of               doubled between 2017 and 2018, to 57 034
    sising the fact that the total number of        the drop in detected migrants on this                  detections, thus making this route the

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    Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
most frequently used route into Europe        were enhanced and reinforced in certain                    Eastern Land Border route
in 2018. Hence, Morocco was the main          areas. Both, the central route via Serbia
departure point to Europe for irregular       and the route stemming from the Greek-                     The Eastern land border in 2018 saw an
migrants. The majority of the increase        Albanian border section projected pres-                    approximately 24 % increase in detec-
stems from departures from Morocco,           sure northwards, along the Bosnian and                     tions compared with 2017, partly due
which more than doubled. Most of the          Herzegovinian–Croatian–Slovenian cor-                      to migrants abusing the FIFA Fan ID,
migratory pressure registered on this         ridor and to a lesser extent on Serbia’s                   which allowed travelers visa-free entry
route was linked to migrants originating      EU borders with Hungary, Croatia and                       to Russia, from where, coming also via
from sub-Saharan countries; however,          Romania. The top nationalities detected                    Belarus and Ukraine, the migrants at-
towards the end of 2018, the number of        transiting the region were largely simi-                   tempted to enter the EU illegally. With
Moroccan migrants began to increase.          lar to those reported on the Eastern Med-                  a share of around 34 %, Vietnamese na-
On this route, those that claimed to be       iterranean route, with the exception of                    tionals represented an even larger por-
minors accounted for a 9 % share of ar-       Iranians who reached the Balkans via                       tion of illegal border-crossings at the
rivals in 2018. Overall, on both land and     Serbia having mostly abused visa-free                      Eastern Land Border route compared to
sea routes, Moroccans were the top de-        access to Serbia, which was rescinded                      2017, followed at a distance by Iraqis,
tected nationality, followed by Guine-        in October.                                                Russians and Ukrainians.
ans, Malians and Algerians.
                                              Western African route
Eastern Mediterranean route
                                              On the Western African route, a strong
With only slightly fewer detections than      increase in detected irregular migrants
on the Western Mediterranean route,           was registered (+264 % to around 1 500),
the Eastern Mediterranean route regis-        mostly in the second part of the year and
tered 56 561 illegal border-crossings in      mostly Moroccans who had the Canary
2018. Because of Turkish preventions of       Islands as their final intended destina-
departure, the number of detections in        tion, oftentimes with family links on the
the Eastern Aegean Sea was roughly un-        Islands. A little more than half of these
changed. The implementation of a relo-        migrants departed from Morocco while
cation and return programme in Turkey         the rest mostly departed from Senegal.
for irregular Syrian migrants slightly
shifted the nationality makeup on the
Eastern Mediterranean route in the sec-
ond half of 2018 with smuggling net-
works increasingly offering Afghans the
possibility of reaching the Greek Eastern
Aegean islands, thereby offsetting the        Figure 1. Detections of illegal border-crossing, by main nationalities
lower number of Syrian migrants. Never-       (scale in absolute numbers, with labels showing percentages of total) in 2018
theless, Syrians were still the most com-                                                                                                               28%
monly detected nationality. The number        150 000

of recorded Turkish migrants more than
tripled in 2018 with 7 918 arrivals thereby
                                              120 000
becoming the fourth most common na-
tionality on this route behind the afore-                                                                                              4%
mentioned nationalities and Iraqis.                                                                                 4%
                                               90 000                                                    6%
Western Balkan route                                                                8%
                                               60 000                      9%
The Western Balkans continued to be
transited by irregular migrants trying to                         10%

reach Western Europe from Turkey. Two          30 000   17%

                                                                                                                                                        All Others

main routes through the region stood


out in 2018 with pressure shifting be-


tween them as border control activities            0

                                                                                                                                                        17 of 52

                                                                                                                 Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Detections of illegal border-crossing at BCPs
   by border section (people hiding in vehicles), 2018

   2 258 (1 622)
   Number in parenthesis is for 2017

           200                                                           Croatia-Serbia



5.2. Border checks: Clandestine entry

In 2018, Member States reported the
highest total in detections of clandestine
entry (people hiding in trains, lorries
and other vehicles seeking to enter the
EU at the external borders on both land
and sea routes) since 2015, testimony to
a persistency in migratory pressure, in
particular at certain border sections at
the EU’s external borders. At the same
time, falling detections at many border
sections in times of tightened border
surveillance at the green border – which
could increase the incentives for clandes-
tine entry – actually reveal differences in
procedures and data reporting among
Member States.
   At EU seaports, a lower number of
clandestine entry attempts reported by
Italy have led to a significant decrease
in the total (-35 %), whereas all other sea
borders reported fewer or roughly sim-
                                                                                                                                   © Frontex

ilar numbers. As regards Italian ports,
the nationalities of persons attempting
to enter clandestinely reflected both di-     Figure 2. A Czech police officer checking a vehicle, Joint Action Day Mobile, 2018
verse port connections southwards (Tu-
nisians and Moroccans) and eastwards
(Iraqis and Turks).

18 of 52

Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Refusals of entry
per border type, 2018
(only values higher than 1000 are stipulated)

131 641 (126 456)                                           54 780 (48 924)                                  4 481 (7 639)
Number in parenthesis is for 2017                           Number in parenthesis is for 2017                Number in parenthesis is for 2017

 Land                                                         Air                                              Sea

                                Poland                                             Germany
                          Croatia                                                      Italy                                               Italy
                                                                      Spain                                            Spain

         Trend of the total
         Land                                                                                       Air                                      Sea
 2017     126 456                                                                                   48 924                                          7 639
 2018     131 641                                                                                   54 780                                          4 481

5.3. Border checks: Refusals of entry

In 2018, 190 930 refusals of entry were                        Refusals of entry issued to Ukraini-          visitors were unaware of the existing re-
reported along the external borders of                      ans have been steadily increasing since          quirements to be fulfilled to enter the
the EU, a slight increase compared with                     2014, but the increase from 2017 to 2018         Schengen zone.
2017. While the increases were at the air                   was more pronounced than in the pre-                At sea borders, a decrease in refusals
and land borders, refusals issued at sea                    vious year. Unsurprisingly, nine out of          of persons for whom an alert had been
borders decreased by 41 %.                                  ten refusals were issued at the EU bor-          issued in the Schengen Information Sys-
   More than half of the refusals con-                      ders with Ukraine. The increase was in           tem or in a national register is notable.
tinued to be issued to three nationali-                     particular due to increases in refusals is-      Italian seaports reported much of the de-
ties – Ukrainian, Russian and Albanian.                     sued because of a lack of appropriate doc-       crease with refusals being issued to pas-
Refusals issued to Ukrainians increased                     umentation justifying the purpose and            sengers coming from Albania.
by almost 60 %, whereas Russians (by                        conditions of stay and the inability to             At air borders, there was little change
roughly one-third, meanwhile the                            present sufficient means of subsistence.         in the airports that issued most refus-
number of Russians at the EU’s borders                      The increases in both categories of rea-         als of entry.
without a valid visa or residence permit                    sons for refusals was most likely linked
decreased) and Albanians (by roughly                        to visa liberalisation, which started in
one-fourth) recorded strong decreases.                      June 2017, oftentimes meaning that the

     issued alert for the purpose of refusing entry
                  in the SIS or national register (H)                                                                                              2017
  no sufficient means of subsistence in relation to
period and form of stay, or the means to return (G)
                   already stayed for three months
     during a six months period on MS territory (F)
                    no appropriate documentation
   justifying the purpose and conditions of stay (E)

              no valid visa or residence permit (C)

                                                        0             5 000                10 000            15 000               20 000                    25 000

Figure 3. Selected reasons for refusals of Ukrainain nationals, 2017–2018

                                                                                                                                                     19 of 52

                                                                                                               Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019





                                        Morocco                                                           Iraq   Iran                                       China
     Dominican                                                                                                                        India
      Republic                      Senegal
                                                                                                                                      Sri Lanka
                                         Cote d'Ivoire

                                                                                     Congo, DRC

         Bolivia                                                            Angola

                                                   of users
                                                         ≤250         Percentage change             Trend between 2017 and 2018
                                                         ≤400         Increase (from 1% to 120%)      Decrease (from -10% to -49%)

5.4. Border checks: Fraudulent documents

In 2018, Member States reported 6 667 in-       as in the previous year were Moroccan                            the South-East EU border with Serbia
dividuals from third countries present-         (977), followed by Iranian (450), Ukrain-                        in 2019.
ing fraudulent travel documents at BCPs         ian (401) and Turkish (394). The number                              In 2018, the top five most reported
on entry to the EU/SAC. The number of           of Ukrainian fraudulent document users                           nationalities detected with fraudulent
detections continues to follow its de-          decreased dramatically from 785 in 2017.                         documents on entry to the EU/Schen-
creasing trend started in 2014, when ex-           The remarkable progress recorded                              gen area from third countries remain al-
ceptionally high numbers were reported          in the case of Ukrainian nationals was                           most the same as in the 2017 apart from
on account of the Syrian diaspora. In           mostly brought about by visa liberalisa-                         Turks, who have replaced Albanians (due
contrast, the number of document fraud          tion for the rightful holders of Ukrain-                         to their lower number) amongst the top
detections on secondary movements in-           ian biometric passports, which entered                           five. The anticipated increase during and
side the EU/Schengen area increased in          into force in June 2017. The same goes for                       immediately after the 2018 FIFA World
2018 for the second year in a row. The fig-     Georgian nationals due to visa liberali-                         Cup™ did not materialise and figures
ure increased by almost 42 % compared           sation in March 2017. Apart from Turks,                          have been not particularly affected, apart
with 2017 and reached its highest level         the number of Nigerians and Chinese de-                          from a few cases registered mainly in
since 2013. Following a trend already ob-       tected with fraudulent documents cross-                          the Baltic republics on entry from Rus-
served during 2017, this development was        ing the external EU borders recorded a                           sia and Belarus.
mainly caused by the significant increase       slight increase. After the relatively high
in departures from Greece involving Syr-        number of Iranians detected on exit from                         Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport remains the
ian, Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish         Serbia, the trend has become stable dur-                         top departure airport for detections
nationals. Of these nationalities, Turks        ing 2018 until the decision of the Serbian                       of fraudulent documents from third
recorded the most marked increase com-          authorities to revoke visa-free travel for                       countries despite a sharp decrease in
pared with 2017.                                Iranians in October 2018. Serbia’s deci-                         numbers
    At EU level, of the 135 nationalities       sion to rescind visa-free travel for Ira-
detected using fraudulent documents to          nians will probably result in a further                          As in previous years, most detections
illegally enter the EU/SAC from a third         decrease in the number of arrivals of                            of fraudulent documents were reported
country, the most commonly detected             Iranian fraudulent document users at                             on air routes. With 335 detections, the

20 of 52

Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Passports check – Joint Action Day Danube III 2018
                                                                                                                 © Frontex, 2018

number of document fraud cases from         2017, however, already led to a decrease     and Spain. As a consequence, these mi-
Istanbul’s Atatürk airport decreased by     in the number of Ukrainians abusing          grants explore any possible option to
30 % in 2018 compared with 2017. Both       fraudulently obtained visas in the lat-      move further towards their final des-
Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen (Istanbul)        ter part of that year.                       tination, even purchasing fraudulent
airports reported the lowest number of         At the external sea borders, no signif-   travel documents.
document fraud cases since 2013.            icant change was observed in compari-
   The second – most reported last air-     son with previous years.
port of departure in 2018 was Moham-
med IV airport in Casablanca with 211       Abuse of fraudulent documents for
detected persons using fraudulent doc-      secondary movements is more and
uments in their attempt to cross the ex-    more in the spotlight
ternal EU borders.
                                            While detections of fraudulent docu-
At the land borders most of the             ment users inbound from third coun-
detections of document fraud                tries were stable, the same cannot be
continued to be inbound from Ukraine        said about fake document users on sec-
and Serbia but to Hungary, instead of       ondary movements. The sustained in-
Poland, as the primary destination          crease in demand from within the EU
                                            for fraudulent documents has prompted
Whilst in 2017 most of the document         established counterfeiters to increase
fraud cases at the land borders were re-    their production and to establish new
ported between Ukraine and Poland, dur-     print shops.
ing 2018 the border between Hungary            The number of irregular migrants
and Serbia saw the brunt of cases. The      stuck in a nation different from their
visa liberalisation regime for Ukrainian    final destination increased in frontier
nationals that entered into force in June   Mediterranean states like Greece, Italy

                                                                                                                         21 of 52

                                                                                           Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
5.5. Situation of asylum in the EU by EASO

Until the end of December 2018, some           applications fluctuated between some                 (28 797), and Iran (25 397), jointly repre-
634 000 applications for international         47 000 and 57 000, except for Octo-                  senting about a third of all applicants
protection were lodged in the 28 EU            ber when it went up to some 61 700.                  (Fig. 5). All of these countries, except for
Member States plus Norway and Swit-            Throughout 2018, detections of illegal               Iran, were also in the top five in 2017. In
zerland (EU+), about 10 % fewer than in        border-crossing continued to be at a con-            addition to Iran, there were considera-
2017.1 At least one in 10 applicants in        sistently lower level than asylum appli-             ble increases in the number of applicants
2018 had previously lodged an applica-         cations, similar to the pattern in 2017 as           from Venezuela and Turkey. Similar to
tion in the same EU+ reporting country         well as prior to the migration crisis. This          2017, the population of applicants re-
(repeated applicants).                         difference is probably related to multi-             mained diverse with citizens of about
   After the peak in asylum applica-           ple factors, including applications by               60 countries lodging over 1 000 appli-
tions in the second half of 2015 and the       persons crossing external borders unde-              cations in the EU+. There was a notable
high level sustained in 2016, the num-         tected, repeated applicants in the same              increase in the share of applicants from
ber of asylum claims began to decrease,        reporting country, secondary movements               Schengen-visa exempt countries, from
and has remained relatively stable ever        across the EU+, and applications by na-              13 % in 2017 to 18 % in 2018. The rise was
since (Fig. 4). In 2018, the number of         tionalities who entered the EU+ legally.             most notable for citizens of Venezuela,
                                               The latter category includes arrivals with           Georgia and Colombia.
1   EASO Early warning and Preparedness
                                               genuine visa, and also those from coun-                  In 2018, over 67 000 applications were
    System (EPS) data are shared between       tries exempt from a Schengen visa which              withdrawn in the EU+, about four fifths
    EASO and the EU+ countries. They           in 2018 represented 18 % of all asylum ap-           of them implicitly which is when an ap-
    are provisional, unvalidated data and      plications (Fig. 5).                                 plicant is no longer present and thought
    therefore might differ from validated
                                                  The main countries of origin of appli-            to have absconded. The citizenships of
    data submitted at a later date to
                                               cants for international protection in the            applicants with most withdrawn appli-
    Eurostat (according to Regulation (EC)
    No 862/2007). The data included here are   EU+ were Syria (74 680 applications), Af-            cations were Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghan,
    the latest as of 24 January 2019.          ghanistan (45 273), Iraq (42 042), Pakistan          Nigerian, and Syrian.

                                               Asylum application          Illegal border-crossing detection
500 000                                                                                                                                                   80 000

400 000
                                                                                                                                                          60 000

300 000
                                                                                                                                                          40 000
200 000

                                                                                                                                                          20 000
100 000

      0                                                                                                                                                   0












            2014         2015           2016         2017           2018


Figure 4. Asylum applications in the EU+ and illegal border-crossing detections, March 2014 – December 2018,
and a focus on 2018 (Source: EASO EPS data as of 24 January 2019 and Frontex public data)

22 of 52

Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Afghanistan          Pakistan          Nigeria       Venezuela Georgia
          Syria                       Iraq              Iran             Turkey    Albania                                 Other

0%                10%              20%            30%                    40%            50%          60%          70%              80%        90%               100%
                                                                                  EXEMPT COUNTRIES

Figure 5. Main nationalities of asylum applicants in the EU+, 2018 (Source: EASO EPS data as of 24 January 2019)

    In 2018, over 590 500 decisions were                       protection was 34 %, declining for a sec-          Conversely, the lowest rates in this group
issued at first instance, a decrease by two                    ond year. As earlier, this recognition             were for applicants from Georgia (3 %),
fifths compared to 2017. As in previous                        rate differed substantially across na-             The Gambia (4 %), and Bangladesh (5 %).
years, fewer decisions were issued over                        tionalities. Among the applicants with                At the end of December 2018, about
the summer months (Fig. 6). The share                          more than 10 000 issued decisions, Syr-            440 000 cases were pending at first in-
of positive decisions i.e. those grant-                        ians (87 %) and Eritreans (82 %) continued         stance in the EU+ countries.
ing either refugee status or subsidiary                        to have the highest recognition rate.

                                                                                                                                            RECOGNITION RATES
             47% 41% 46% 50% 51% 61% 60% 56% 58% 60% 58% 52% 43% 41% 40% 39% 35% 36% 32% 33% 32% 34% 38% 37%
          50% 40% 44% 44% 44% 60% 57% 55% 55% 60% 59% 53% 46% 43% 37% 41% 36% 35% 33% 30% 34% 33% 35% 38%

140 000

120 000

100 000

 80 000

 60 000

 40 000

 20 000

                            2015                                          2016                             2017                             2018

                                                                                                 Refugee status     Subsidiary protection   Negative decision

Figure 6. First-instance decisions on asylum applications in the EU+ and recognition rates,
           January 2015 – December 2018 (Source: EASO EPS data as of 24 January 2019)

                                                                                                                                                         23 of 52

                                                                                                                    Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Illegal stayers
Number of detected cases
of illegal stay, 2018

361 636 (435 084)                                                             Germany

Number in parenthesis is for 2017


            50 000

(only highest values are displayed)                                                  Italy



5.6. Illegal stayers and arrested people smugglers

Illegal stayers                               to a lesser extent on the Eastern Med-         People smugglers
                                              iterranean routes. Among the general
In 2018, Member States reported a sig-        trend of falling detections, unsurpris-        Member States reported 10 642 detected
nificantly reduced number of detections       ingly Greece and Spain buck this trend.        people smugglers in 2018, only slightly
of illegal stay, entirely due to a decrease   So too does Portugal, which however is         more than in 2017. The Member States
in inland detections. Detections on exit      not altogether related to the traditional      that are reporting the most detected peo-
at air, land and sea borders on the other     migration routes but rather is the result      ple smugglers equally have not changed
hand increased slightly.                      of migrants having arrived on air routes       in order. Considering the nationalities
    Illegal stay detections inland fell by    from Latin America. Brazilians were by         of the people smugglers involved, while
23 % compared with 2017, which is un-         far the largest group detected, with de-       there are some increases and decreases,
surprising considering its inherent link      tections more than doubling compared           it is more or less the same mix of na-
to the overall number of irregular mi-        with 2017.                                     tionalities from transit countries, coun-
grants arriving on EU territory. A look          As regards illegal stay on exit, totals     tries of entry, countries heavily affected
at the Member States reporting the most       on land, air and sea borders all increased     by secondary movements, and finally
detections – as well as at the national-      moderately. Looking at the nationalities       countries associated with well-known
ities – confirms the continuing link to       concerned, Ukrainians were the most            organised crime groups. Increases in de-
the strong increases in irregular migra-      commonly detected by a distance, re-           tections associated with migratory pres-
tory movements on the Western and             cording an almost linear increase since        sure from the Western Balkan route and
                                              data collection on this indicator began,       secondary movements thereafter are no-
Detected facilitators                         mostly attributable to exit checks at the      table in Croatia and Slovenia. At the sea
                                              Polish and Hungarian land borders. Il-         borders, a disproportionate decrease in
 Number of detected
                                              legal stay on exit at air borders saw few      detections beyond the overall decrease
 facilitators, 2018
                                              changes – however, the number of Al-           in illegal border-crossings on sea routes
        Spain                                 banians detected for illegal stay on exit      suggests that smuggling groups have
       France                                 at airports, who in 2017 were the most         further excelled in successfully operat-
         Italy                                common nationality detected, fell by           ing out of the reach of Member States’
      Greece                                  half compared with 2017.                       law enforcement.
     Slovenia                         1 000

24 of 52

Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
Ukraine                                                                                                                33 682
                                                                                                                        27318                                    Others
                                                                                                                                                                        107 209
                                                                                                                                                                         50 418

                                                              19 026                                                   14 242
 Morocco                                                      10 893        Pakistan                                    4 311

                                                           18 364                                   10 348       Russian Fed.                  5 165
 Afghanistan                                                2 565         Guinea                       412                                     4 641

                                                                                                                 Georgia                      5 270
                                                                                                                                              5 077

                                                     16 604                                  9 460                                       5 790
 Albania                                             19 274         Algeria                  5 057     Tunisia                           3 857

                                                                                                                                       5 481
                                                                                                       India                           3 700
                                                                                                                                                                         Return decisions in 2018: 286 875
                                                                                                                                                                         Effective returns in 2018: 148 121
 Iraq                                            15 689
                                                  4 893        Mali                   8 781
                                                                                                 Turkey                               5 931
                                                                                                                                      2 455
                                                                                                                                                                                           Return decisions

                                                                                                 Brazil                             5 833                                                  Effective returns
                                                                                                                                    3 086

Please note that the number of effective returns may sometimes be larger than return decisions, as a return decision issued in a given month may be effectively enforced at a later date. Also, return decisions may be issued
without prejudice to the person’s right to apply for asylum. Readmissions between Member States are not included (for example between France and Italy). Effective returns do not necessarily mean returns to the country of
origin and, for example in the case of Syrians, they include returns of persons to third countries considered to be safe (for example from Hungary to Serbia).

5.7. In the EU: Returns                                                                                                                                  2018, 1 114 Georgians and 114 Ukrainians
                                                                                                                                                         were returned in the framework of Fron-
                                                                                                                                                         tex-supported operations. Current Fron-
In 2018, Member States reported around                                          In relation to most Member States,                                       tex data do not only show an increase in
287 000 return decisions issued to third-                                   both return indicators correlated and                                        cases of abuse of the new visa policy by
country nationals, which is around 2 %                                      showed a similar annual downward or                                          these two nationalities, but also a level of
more than in 2017. The absolute total                                       upward trend. A decline in the number                                        cooperation with the Ukrainian and Geor-
number of migrants subject to return                                        of issued return decisions and conducted                                     gian authorities that allows the return of
decisions might still be higher, as data                                    effective returns in 2018 was particu-                                       an increasing number of their citizens.
on decisions were unavailable from Aus-                                     larly visible in those Member States that                                        Albanians are the nationality with
tria, France and the Netherlands. Ger-                                      were most affected by the migration peak                                     the largest absolute decrease in effective
many and the UK also do not report all                                      of 2015/2016, e.g. Germany, Sweden or                                        returns compared to 2017 (-25 % to fewer
data on return decisions to the FRAN.                                       Hungary. On the other hand, countries                                        than 20 000). Similar to other Western
    As in previous years, the number of                                     that played a larger role as transit or                                      Balkan nationalities, this was in line
return decisions was much larger than                                       destination countries in 2018 reported                                       with a general decline in the irregular
the total number of effective returns to                                    higher figures in relation to the return                                     migration pressure of Albanian nation-
third countries, which decreased by 5 %                                     indicators, e.g. Spain and France.                                           als, reflected by a lower number of asy-
to around 148 000 in 2018. Between 2012                                         In general, within the number of ef-                                     lum applications, illegal stays, illegal
and 2015, this indicator has remained                                       fective returns to third countries, around                                   border crossings, refusals of entry, and
rather unaffected by peaks in irregular                                     50 % were reported to be on a voluntary                                      issued return decisions.
migration, varying between a level of                                       basis and 50 % were forced returns.                                              In contrast, the number of effective
150 000 and 175 000 effective returns.                                          A breakdown by third-country na-                                         returns of Afghan nationals decreased
The main reasons for non-return are re-                                     tionalities reveals clearly diverging de-                                    by 32 % in 2018 in spite of a 67 % increase
lated to practical problems in the iden-                                    velopments. The nationalities with the                                       in illegal border-crossings compared to
tification of returnees and in obtaining                                    largest increase in effective returns com-                                   2017. The reason for these converse trends
the necessary documentation from third                                      pared to 2017 were Ukrainian and Geor-                                       is that the number of irregularly arriving
country authorities. In addition, many                                      gian nationals, who have in common                                           Afghans started to rise only by the second
decisions to return voluntarily do not                                      that their Schengen visa obligation was                                      half of 2018, and that the national asy-
materialise as the persons decide to ab-                                    waived in 2017. Frontex-supported opera-                                     lum authorities have not yet concluded
scond and stay illegally.                                                   tions have contributed to this increase: in                                  the related asylum procedures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  25 of 52

                                                                                                                                                              Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
6. Featured analyses

               Documents check, Minerva Operation
                                  © Frontex, 2018
6.1. Interviews of migrants

In 2018, Frontex continued collecting          networks. In terms of the smugglers’ na-        Interviews found that Somali mi-
information from voluntary interviews          tionalities, the top ranking nationalities   grants were mainly smuggled by Somali
with newly arrived migrants in the Cen-        were Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan and       suspects and to a lesser extent by Libyans
tral, Eastern and Western Mediterra-           Moroccan followed by suspects from Tur-      and Eritreans. The same pattern appears
nean area in the framework of PeDRA            key, Tunisia, Algeria, Guinea and Iran.      for all the other groups of migrants. They
(Processing Personal Data for Risk Anal-          Regarding smuggling networks the          are primarily in contact with fellow na-
ysis). Migrants coming from more than          three main observations are:                 tionals or individuals from their neigh-
60 countries were interviewed upon their       ▪▪ Migrants turn to their fellow na-         bouring countries who cooperated with
arrival in Italy, Greece and Spain.               tionals to be smuggled into the EU.       smuggling networks.
   As regards the nationalities inter-            These persons usually play the role          In 2018, Iraqi and Syrian migrants
viewed Iraqis, Syrians, Algerians, Tu-            as recruiters.                            headed mainly to Izmir and were smug-
nisians and Afghans featured among the         ▪▪ The people smugglers are not only         gled by criminal networks involving pri-
top five, followed by Moroccans, Guine-           based or operate in the country of de-    marily Syrian and Iraqi suspects and to
ans, Pakistanis, Ivorians and Eritreans.          parture but operate mainly in third       a lesser extent Turkish suspects. Simi-
    Most of the interviewed migrants be-          countries bordering the EU (Turkey,       larly, migrants from Afghanistan and
longed to the age group 18–35 years old           Libya, Morocco, etc.)                     Pakistan showed the same pattern of be-
(82 %) and were unmarried (65 %) males         ▪▪ The people smuggling networks are         haviour, being smuggled via Istanbul by
(89 %) from the Middle Eastern, African,          well established and have been ac-        fellow Afghan and Pakistani.
and Asian countries – together account-           tive for many years. Although the            It appears that the journey of mi-
ing for 60 % of interviews.                       leading figures are often nationals       grants who can afford to spend more
    In 2018, a significant number (77 %) of       of the last country of departure the      money to get into Europe are planned
the interviewed migrants stated a pref-           associates of the smugglers are from      in advance, before their departure. For
erence regarding their final destina-             different countries.                      example, the majority of the migrants
tion countries. Based on their answers,                                                     who reached Italy by sailing boats from
France was the most common final des-          Where are the people smugglers               Turkey, spending around EUR 5 000 per
tination country, followed by Spain, Ger-      from and where are they based?               person, claimed that they had access to
many, Italy, and Greece. In 2017, Italy,                                                    the smuggling networks before their de-
France, Germany, Spain, Greece and             Even though some of the interviewees         parture and agreed on the route, method
United Kingdom were at the top of the          claimed that the people who smuggled         and the amount of money before they
list. This reoccurring trend suggests that     them were based in their country of or-      started their journey.
migrants prefer a few final destination        igin, arranging the whole journey, the          The people smugglers offering full-
countries. This represents a stable trend      vast majority of the interviewed mi-         package migration function almost
observed at least over the last three years.   grants claimed that the people smug-         similar to a travel agent and they are
    The vast majority (84 %) of the mi-        glers were based in the last country of      multinational as well. They maintain re-
grants interviewed in 2018 claimed that        departure (71 %). This does not necessar-    cruiting agents/contacts in the country
they had been smuggled and only 7 %            ily exclude the possibility that networks    of origin who possess the same nation-
declared that they had arrived in a Eu-        organised the whole facilitation from        ality or are from the same country as the
ropean country without using a people          beginning to end, although it strongly       migrants. The interviews suggest that in
smuggler. About 9 % did not reply to this      indicates that the presence of people        2018, there were criminal networks ac-
question. This high number shows the           smuggling networks is predominant at         tive in Turkey who were in a position to
massive role played by people smuggling        the last point of departure.                 offer these services, entailing complex

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Frontex · Risk Analysis for 2019
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