The present report provides an overview of the main developments and debates in relation to migration and asylum in Luxembourg in 2019.
The main changes in the field of migration and asylum during 2019 are the result of the implementation of the Coalition Agreement of the Government for 2018-2023. These changes are of an institutional nature and add flexibility for the entry of third-country nationals onto Luxembourgish territory, in order to reside up to one year without applying for a residence permit.
Two major overarching legislative changes were observed in 2019:
- From the institutional point of view, the main change was the adoption of the law of 4 December 2019 establishing the National Reception Office (‘Office national de l’accueil’ – ONA). This law transfers the competence of reception from the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
- Another major legislative development was the adoption of the law of 4 December 2019 amending the law of 29 August 2009 on the free movement of persons and immigration, which introduces several operational changes on the conditions of entry, detention and return area:
- It introduces a new long-term visa simplifying the entry and stay of a third-country national for a period of up to one year, without having to apply for a residence.
- Regarding the detention of third-country nationals, this law introduces an amendment allowing a systematic verification process for the prolongation of detention of third-country nationals.
- In the context of return, it establishes an interdisciplinary commission to evaluate the best interest of unaccompanied minors in return decisions and increases the sanctions that apply to carriers who transport individuals without the correct documentation, and to migrants who use false or incorrect documents to enter the country.
Other significant legislative developments were related to Brexit. The Luxembourgish Government took steps in anticipation of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, especially regarding British citizens residing in Luxembourg. In this context, four laws were amended in order to guarantee the rights of these individuals – in the event of a ‘deal’ or ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
In addition to the above, important changes and debates in the field of migration and asylum during 2019 relate to legal migration; international protection; unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable groups; integration; return; irregular migration and detention; as well as the fight against trafficking in human beings.