Glossary of Terms

Alien – a person who is not a national of a given state; in the EU context, a person who is not the citizen of the European Union.

Asylum – a form of protection granted by a state on its territory to persons who are unable to seek protection in their country of citizenship or residence.

Asylum application – a request made by a foreigner or a stateless person for international protection under international refugee law or national asylum law

Asylum seeker – a person who has lodged an asylum application  in respect of which a final decision on granting refugee status under relevant international and national instruments has not yet been taken.

Borders – materialised lines separating territories or administrative entities. Borders establish the authority of a state within its territorial domain and are important institutions of sovereignty and national security, establishing mechanisms of protection and control of the state territory.

Border control – an activity carried out at a border exclusively in response to an intention to cross that border, regardless of any other consideration. It includes activities concerning persons, their means of transport and the objects in their possession.

Border management – an institutional set of measures aimed to facilitate authorized flows of persons across a border and protect internal and international security against external threats. It combines various regulation and control activities, including  border checks and surveillance, detection and prevention of irregular entry of non-nationals, visa requirements, carrier sanctions and interdiction at sea.

External borders – In the European Union: Member States’ land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports and lake ports, provided that they are not internal borders.

Hotspot – an area in which the host EU member state, the European Commission, relevant EU agencies and other participating member states cooperate for the sake of managing effectively an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders of the EU.

Integration – [in immigration policy]: an interactive process of mutual accommodation by all immigrants and residents/nationals of a country.

Irregular migration – entry, stay or work of a third-country national in a receiving country without the necessary authorisation or documents required under immigration regulations.

Migration – the movement of people from one country to another or within a state. It includes migration of refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants, and persons moving for other purposes, including family reunification.

Migrant – an individual who is outside the territory of his country of origin as a result of the decision taken freely by the individual and without intervention of an external compelling factor. In particular, migrant is a person who resides  in a foreign country for more than one year irrespective of the causes and the means used to migrate.

Non-refoulement – a principle of international refugee law and national asylum laws of EU member states that prohibits states from returning refugees to countries or territories in which their lives or freedom may be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Overstayers – migrants who remain resident in a country after their legal permission to stay has expired.

Readmission – a rapid and effective procedure established by a readmission agreement between neighbouring states on the basis of reciprocity for the identification and return of persons who do not fulfil the conditions for entry to or residence in the territory of one of the states–parties to the readmission agreement.

Refugee – a person forced to flee his or her country of origin because of  the well-founded feeling of having been threatened by violence, civil strife, massive violations of human rights, external aggression or other circumstances seriously disturbing public order. According to the 1951 Geneva Convention, refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

Return – [in migration policy]: the relocation and integration of people from the country in which they have sought protection or residence to another country that has agreed to admit them. It can be voluntary or forced, usually taking form of the physical transportation out of the country following a return decision.

Safe third country – a country granting protection to international migrants in accordance with the principles of full protection of life and liberty, no risk of serious harm, non-refoulement and non-removal of migrants.

Schengen – a free-travel area established on the basis of an agreement between 26 countries of Europe that allows people and goods in a period of up to 90 days to pass freely across the borders of each country without controls.

Trafficking in human beings – the recruitment, transportation or reception of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Scroll to Top