EU migration and borders: Key facts and figures

Briefing 13-03-2024

Is the EU facing a migration crisis? Are the EU's borders on the brink of collapse because of increased irregular migration? Would border fences help to stop or reduce irregular migration? How many of the world's refugees and asylum seekers are headed towards the EU? Are the protection claims of asylum seekers genuine, or is subterfuge used to gain access to the EU? And what happened with the Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war into the EU? These are among the most common and important questions shaping the current discussion around migration and borders in the EU. This briefing provides an overview of key trends and figures on migration, borders and asylum in the EU. The analysis critically situates these topics in the broader global and historical context, providing a synthetic, data rich and accessible presentation of major issues. The analysis leads to several interesting findings that may challenge common perceptions about migration and borders in the EU, including the following.  The majority of migrants enter the EU through legitimate legal channels.  Most irregular migrants do not cross the EU's external borders irregularly.  There are significantly more legal migrants than irregular migrants in the EU.  Building fences at the EU's external borders does not seem to reduce irregular entries.  The view of a dramatic increase in the number of migrants and refugees is contested.  The EU's share of the world's refugees and asylum seekers remains limited.  Reducing or stopping immigration would worsen the EU's demographic challenges.  The EU's temporary protection scheme showed the Union's capacity to provide protection swiftly to a significant number of people in need.