Migration & Asylum

Due to the significant influx of migrants into the European Union in 2015 with over one million crossings, migration and asylum, as well as the integration of refugees have become urgent topics of discussion. Refugees who flee persecution and harm and enter into the European Union are subject to the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The CEAS regulates the application of asylum law within the Member States by regulating both the procedural and substantive matters for international protection from entry into the territory of a Member State, until the determination of the status of an applicant. Migration management also includes reducing irregular migration through smart borders at the European Union’s external borders and an effectual return policy in full respect of the principle of non-refoulment. Efficient legal avenues for non-EU nationals are essential for strategic migration management within the context of an ageing European population and attracting much-needed talent for the EU economy.

This area has been at the centre of Milieu’s work for a number of years as demonstrated by some illustrative project references:


Cost of Non-Europe (CoNE) reports are attempts to identify areas that are expected to benefit most from deeper EU integration, and for which the EU’s added value is potentially significant. Current weaknesses to the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) have cost the EU an annual EUR 50.5 billion.

For this project, the European Parliament asked Milieu to explore this issue further through a Cost of Non-Europe report to detail the inefficiencies of the current asylum system as well as the subsequent costs attached to them. Building on this analysis, the project then proposed EU policy options to respond to the current ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe and assessed the options in terms of the costs and benefits they could provide. The net benefits of these policy options could save the EU billions of euros each year.

The final report can be found here.

To bolster the EU’s economy and academic prowess on the world stage, barriers for highly-skilled migrants to enter the EU as students and researchers should be minimised. As such, to increase the attractiveness of the EU as a destination for third-country highly skilled migrants, the Students and Researchers Directive was adopted (Directive (EU) 2016/801). It modifies and builds upon existing Directives (Directive 2004/114/EC and Directive 2005/71/EC) and has two main aims: to enhance mobility between Member States and to facilitate the student and researchers’ access to jobs.

Milieu has been tasked with checking that 26 Member States have effectively and completely transposed this Directive into their national legal systems. The outcome of Milieu’s work will allow the European Commission to be aware of infringements and to pursue infringement proceedings where necessary.

EU law covers not only its citizens, but also third-country nationals working in the EU. This project looked at two groups of non-EU workers, namely seasonal workers and company transfers. The Seasonal Worker Directive (Directive 2014/36/EU) creates a level playing field for the recruitment of migrant seasonal workers and ensures that they are not exploited socially or economically. The European Intra Corporate Transfer (ICT) Directive (Directive 2014/66/EU) provides conditions of entry and residence for third-country nationals moving to the EU due to intra-company transfers. It aims to improve mobility and to limit exploitation or distortion for transferees.

DG HOME asked Milieu to check that all EU Member States had successfully incorporated these Directives into their national legislation. This was accomplished through a completeness and conformity checking of these two Directives, allowing for the European Commission to be aware of any infringements and to take next steps accordingly.