DP11271 Refugees and Asylum Seekers, the Crisis in Europe and the Future of Policy

Author(s): Timothy J. Hatton
Publication Date: May 2016
Keyword(s): Asylum Migration, Asylum Policy, Refugees
JEL(s): F22, F53, J15
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11271

The recent asylum crisis has thrown into sharp relief the inadequacies of European asylum policies and has highlighted the need for reform. The existing asylum system, which encourages migrants to make hazardous maritime or overland crossings to gain access to an uncertain prospect of obtaining refugee status, is inefficient, poorly targeted and lacks public support. In the long run it should be replaced by a substantial joint programme of refugee resettlement that would help those most in need of protection, that would eliminate the risks to refugees, and that would command more widespread public support. These arguments are built upon an analysis of key facts and data. This includes estimation of the origin and destination factors that influence asylum applications, and the effects of asylum policies adopted in developed countries. It also includes an examination of different aspects of public opinion that condition the scope for the development of asylum policies. In this light I evaluate the feasibility of three elements for reform: first, tougher border controls to reduce unauthorised entry by prospective asylum applicants; second, promoting direct resettlement of refugees from countries of first asylum; and third, expanding refugee-hosting capacity through enhanced burden-sharing among destination countries.