What is International protection?
International protection is a mechanism to protect fundamental human rights of a person, granted to him/her outside country of origin or country of usual residence, if a person is stateless. It is granted to someone who’s human rights are not protected in his/her country of origin (or other country he/she resides in) or does not want to use the protection of that country because he/she has a well-founded fear of being persecuted or of undergoing serious harm there. There are two types of international protection in EU:
- a) refugee status
- b) subsidiary protection status
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is a person who cannot return to their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Refugees are entitled to protection from being forced to return to their home country.
What is subsidiary protection?
Subsidiary protection is recognised to third-country nationals or stateless persons who do not qualify as refugees but face a real risk of suffering serious harm if forced to return to their home country.
Who is an asylum seeker?
Asylum seekers are people seeking protection but have not yet received refugee status. Typically, an asylum seeker asks for international protection after arriving in a host country, whereas a refugee is granted protection outside of the host country.
What is resettlement?
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), resettlement is defined as “the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another State that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grant them permanent settlement.” Resettlement is a tool/way to protect particularly vulnerable refugees. They are transferred from a first host country, which they have fled to from war, conflict or persecution, to a third country that offers them admission and refugee protection. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has developed specific criteria for the selection of refugees considered for resettlement. Most refugees look for protection in immediate neighbouring countries, (only a small percentage ever leaves to distant countries of the European Union to seek asylum there) but reliable assistance and long-term prospects are not always guaranteed there. Resettlement States provide legal and physical protection for refugees. This includes access to similar civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights enjoyed by citizens of these States.
What are the criteria for admission to resettlement?
The eligibility of individuals for resettlement is determined by the UNHCR. Firstly, you must be recognised as a refugee by UNHCR. In addition, eligibility is assessed under the following categories: Legal and/or Physical Protection Needs, Survivors of Torture and/or Violence, Medical Needs, Women and Girls at Risk, Family Reunification, Children and Adolescents at Risk, and Lack of Foreseeable Alternative Durable Solutions.
The UNHCR assesses individual resettlement needs with the above criteria and makes recommendations regarding who should be selected. The final decision is the responsibility of the receiving country. Receiving countries may have additional admission criteria to that of the UNHCR.
How does the resettlement procedure work?
The resettlement process involves many international and national actors. Firstly, you must be recognised as a refugee by the UNHCR. Individual resettlement needs are assessed by the UNHCR based on eight criteria:
- Legal and physical protection needs
- Survivors of violence and torture
- Medical needs
- Women at risk
- Family reunification
- Children and adolescents
- Elderly refugees
- Lack of local integration prospect
If you meet at least one of these criteria and do not have long-term prospects in your country of origin or first country of refuge, then you will be proposed for resettlement by the UNHCR with your approval. The final decision will be made by the receiving country which may have extra entry criteria. When a State grants you entry, you will be granted permanent residency and refugee protection.