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Migration and Home Affairs


In the EU-context, every legal mechanism and policies that enable lawful migration from a third country to an EU Member State, for both international and humanitarian protection needs and labour market needs (labour migration, family reunification, student migration).


Derived by EMN from European Commission: Communication' Enhancing legal pathways to Europe, COM(2018) 635 final,


Legislative Train 12.2016: Towards a new policy on migration,


  • BG: законен път
  • CS: legální cesty
  • DE: legaler Schutzweg (EU acquis); legaler Weg
  • EL: νόμιμη οδός
  • EN: legal pathway
  • ES: n/a
  • ET: seaduslik rändetee
  • FI: laillinen maahantuloväylä
  • FR: voie d’entrée légale (acquis UE, BE, LU); voie d’accès légale (FR)
  • GA: conair dhlíthiúil / bealach dlíthiúil
  • HR: zakonit način dolaska
  • HU: legális útvonal
  • IT: percorso legale
  • LT: teisėtas atvykimo būdas
  • LV: likumīgs ceļš / likumīga piekļuve
  • MT: Mogħdija legali
  • NL: legale migratiemogelijkheid
  • PL: legalna ścieżka
  • PT: vias legais
  • RO: cale legală de migrație
  • SK: možnosť legálnej migrácie
  • SL: zakonita pot
  • SV: laglig migrationsväg
  • NO: lovlige måter (veier) (b); lovlege måtar (n)
  • KA: ლეგალური გზა
  • UK: легальний шлях
  • HY: օրինական ճանապարհ


  • legal avenue

Related Term(s)


1. Controlled legal migration, whether for humanitarian reasons or based on labour market needs, is an indispensable part of a balanced and comprehensive migration policy and essential for replacing irregular and unsafe pathways.

2. The European Agenda on Migration of May 2015 highlighted the need of a proactive policy of sustainable, transparent, and accessible legal pathways in two ways:

  • Providing safe and legal pathways to Europe for persons in need of international protection through resettlement which helps fighting the criminal networks of smugglers and traffickers.
  • legal migration which makes a valuable contribution to the EU's economic development in the medium and long term and enables the EU to respond to skills shortages.

3. EU Member States are responsible for deciding how many third-country nationals they admit for employment, study and research, while EU rules define common admission conditions, procedures and rights for applicants.

4. Legal and complimentary pathways for admission to third countries are different mechanisms. Complementary pathways should not substitute the protection afforded to refugees under the international protection regime but rather complement it and serve as an important expression of global solidarity and international cooperation and a contribution to more equitable responsibility sharing. Complementary pathways should be implemented in such a way that the rights of refugees and continuing international protection needs are safeguarded.

5. Legal pathways is the concept at EU level and encompasses both international protection and legal migration.