Discussion paper

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

This paper examines some key aspects of migration for asylum to provide a background to the recent crisis and the policy debate that it has spawned. After outlining some of the key facts I focus on the origin and destination factors that influence asylum applications, particularly the policies adopted in developed countries. I then examine different aspects of public opinion that condition the scope for the development of asylum policies. In this light I focus on three issues: border controls, resettlement policies and burden-sharing among destination countries. The existing asylum system that 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 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.


Hatton, T (2016), ‘DP11271 Refugees and Asylum Seekers, the Crisis in Europe and the Future of Policy‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11271. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11271