Giving Compass' Take:

The European Parliament is proposing to give humanitarian visas to asylum seekers so that they can safely pass through Europe in the hopes of reducing the number of deaths on the journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

How is this proposal a step in the right direction for resettlement for refugees?

Read the Giving Compass Refugee Crisis guide for donors.

The European Parliament is considering a proposal to create a European humanitarian visa, a mechanism that will allow eligible asylum seekers safe passage to Europe. The move is intended to provide a much-needed alternative to a risky journey across the Mediterranean Sea, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people in the past year alone.

The European Parliament has asked the European Commission to present legislation by March 31, 2019, and so harmonize the E.U. framework for protected entry. Protected entry is a process under which would-be asylum seekers may apply for a special visa at an embassy or consulate abroad, allowing them to enter that particular state for the purpose of claiming protection.

The European Parliament believes these humanitarian visas will help to reduce the many thousands of deaths each year of people trying to reach Europe on their own. At present, the limited availability of safe pathways to protection means that about 90 percent of refugees in the E.U. arrived by “irregular” means.

The Parliament’s resolution is timely. While protected entry will not resolve the perpetual issue of forced migration, an E.U.-wide humanitarian visa could certainly provide a safer alternative and lessen the immense risks for those in search of protection.

Importantly, the Parliament emphasizes that a humanitarian visa would complement, and never replace, existing procedures for those who seek asylum directly. Instead, as Kaldor Centre director Jane McAdam has noted, mechanisms such as humanitarian visas are best used as part of a “protection toolkit,” operating alongside a range of other pathways – such as third-country resettlement programs or protection-sensitive migration visas – to complement national asylum procedures.

Read the full article about European visas for asylum seekers by Claire Higgins at News Deeply