Legal provisions of COM(2016)466 - Standards for the qualification of third-country nationals as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees and for the protection granted - EU monitor

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Legal provisions of COM(2016)466 - Standards for the qualification of third-country nationals as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees and for the protection granted

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CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Contents

Article 1 - Subject matter

This Regulation lays down standards for:

(a)the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection;

(b)a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection;

(c)the content of the international protection granted.

Article 2 - Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation the following definitions shall apply:

(1) ‘international protection’ means refugee status and subsidiary protection status as defined in points (4) and (6);

(2) ‘beneficiary of international protection’ means a person who has been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status as defined in points (4) and (6);

(3) ‘refugee’ means a third-country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned , is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it, and to whom Article 12 does not apply;

(4) ‘refugee status’ means the recognition by a Member State of a third-country national or a stateless person as a refugee;

(5) ‘person eligible for subsidiary protection’ means a third-country national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee but in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if returned to his or her country of origin, or in the case of a stateless person, to his or her country of former habitual residence, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm as defined in Article 16, and to whom Article 18(1) and (2) does not apply, and is unable, or, owing to such risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country;

(6) ‘subsidiary protection status’ means the recognition by a Member State of a third-country national or a stateless person as a person eligible for subsidiary protection;

(7) ‘application for international protection’ means a request made by a third-country national or a stateless person for protection from a Member State, who can be understood to seek refugee status or subsidiary protection status

(8) ‘applicant’ means a third-country national or a stateless person who has made an application for international protection in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken;

(9) ‘family members’ means, in so far as the family already existed before the applicant arrived on the territory of the Member States, the following members of the family of the beneficiary of international protection who are present in the same Member State in relation to the application for international protection:

(a)the spouse of the beneficiary of international protection or his or her unmarried partner in a stable relationship, where the law or practice of the Member State concerned treats unmarried couples in a way comparable to married couples under its law relating to third-country nationals;

(b)the minor children of the couples referred to in point (a) or of the beneficiary of international protection, on condition that they are unmarried and regardless of whether they were born in or out of wedlock or adopted as defined under national law;

(c)the father, mother or another adult responsible for the beneficiary of international protection whether by law or by the practice of the Member State concerned, when that beneficiary is a minor and unmarried;

(10) ‘minor’ means a third-country national or stateless person below the age of 18 years;

(11) ‘unaccompanied minor’ means a minor who arrives on the territory of the Member States unaccompanied by an adult responsible for him or her whether by law or by the practice of the Member State concerned, and for as long as he or she is not effectively taken into the care of such a person, including a minor who is left unaccompanied after he or she has entered the territory of the Member States;

(12) ‘residence permit’ means any permit or authorisation issued by the authorities of a Member State, in a form provided by Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 43 , allowing a third-country national or stateless person to reside on its territory;

(13) ‘country of origin’ means the country or countries of nationality or, for stateless persons, of former habitual residence;

(14) ‘withdrawal of international protection’ means the decision by a competent authority to revoke, end or refuse to renew the refugee or subsidiary protection status;

(15) subsequent application means a further application for international protection made in any Member State after a final decision has been taken on a previous application, including where the applicant has explicitly withdrawn his or her application or where the determining authority has rejected an application as abandoned following its implicit withdrawal;

(16) ‘determining authority’ means any quasi-judicial or administrative body in a Member State responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance in such cases;

(17) social security means the branches of social security as defined in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council 44 covering sickness benefits; maternity and equivalent paternity benefits; invalidity benefits; old-age benefits; survivors' benefits; benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases; death grants; unemployment benefits, pre-retirement benefits and family benefits;

(18) social assistance means benefits granted in addition to or beyond social security benefits as defined in point (16), with the objective of ensuring that the basic needs of those who lack sufficient resources are met;

(19) guardian means a person or an organisation appointed by the competent bodies in order to assist and represent an unaccompanied minor in procedures provided for in this Regulation with a view to ensuring the best interests of the child and exercising legal capacity for the minor where necessary.

Article 3 - Material scope

1. This Regulation applies to the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and to the content of the international protection granted. 

2. This Regulation does not apply to other national humanitarian statuses issued by Member States under their national law to those who do not qualify for refugee status or subsidiary protection status. These statuses, if issued, shall be issued in such a way as not to entail a risk of confusion with international protection.


CHAPTER II

ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

Article 4 - Submission of information and assessment of facts and circumstances

1. The applicant shall submit all the elements available to him or her which substantiate the application for international protection. He or she shall cooperate with the determining authority and shall remain present and available throughout the procedure.

2. The elements referred to in paragraph 1 shall consist of the applicant’s statements and all the documentation at the applicant’s disposal regarding the applicant’s age, background, including that of relevant relatives, identity, nationality(ies), country(ies) and place(s) of previous residence, previous applications [for international protection and results of any expedited resettlement procedure as defined by Regulation (EU) no XXX/XX [Resettlement regulation]], travel routes, travel documents and the reasons for applying for international protection.

3. The determining authority shall assess the relevant elements of the application in accordance with Article 33 of Regulation (EU)XXX/XXX [Procedures regulation.]

4. The fact that an applicant has already been subject to persecution or serious harm, or to direct threats of such persecution or such harm, shall be considered a serious indication of the applicant’s well-founded fear of persecution or real risk of suffering serious harm, unless there are good reasons to consider that such persecution or serious harm will not be repeated.

5. Where aspects of the applicant’s statements are not supported by documentary or other evidence, no additional evidence shall be required in respect of those aspects where the following conditions are met:

(a)the applicant has made a genuine effort to substantiate his or her application;

(b)all relevant elements at the applicant’s disposal have been submitted, and a satisfactory explanation has been given regarding any lack of other relevant elements;

(c)the applicant’s statements are found to be coherent and plausible and do not run counter to available specific and general information relevant to the applicant’s case;

(d)the applicant has applied for international protection at the earliest possible time, unless the applicant can demonstrate good reason for not having done so;

(e)the general credibility of the applicant has been established.

Article 5 - International protection needs arising sur place

1. A well-founded fear of being persecuted or a real risk of suffering serious harm may be based on events which have taken place since the applicant left the country of origin.

2. A well-founded fear of being persecuted or a real risk of suffering serious harm may be based on activities which the applicant has engaged in since he or she left the country of origin, in particular where it is established that the activities relied upon constitute the expression and continuation of convictions or orientations held in the country of origin.

3. Without prejudice to the Geneva Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights, an applicant who files a subsequent application in accordance with Article 42 of Regulation (EU)XXX/XXX [Procedures regulation] shall not normally be granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status if the risk of persecution or the serious harm is based on circumstances which the applicant has created by his or her own decision since leaving the country of origin.

Article 6 - Actors of persecution or serious harm

Actors of persecution or serious harm can only be:

(a)the State;

(b)parties or organisations controlling the State or a substantial part of the territory of the State;

(c)non-State actors, if it can be demonstrated that the actors referred to in points (a) and (b), including international organisations, are unable or unwilling to provide protection against persecution or serious harm as referred to in Article 7.

Article 7 - Actors of protection

1. Protection against persecution or serious harm can only be provided by the following actors :

(a)the State;

(b)parties or organisations, including international organisations, controlling the State or a substantial part of the territory of the State

provided they are willing and able to offer protection in accordance with paragraph 2.

2. Protection against persecution or serious harm shall be effective and of a non-temporary nature. That protection shall be considered to be provided when the actors referred to in paragraph 1 take reasonable steps to prevent the persecution or suffering of serious harm, among others, by operating an effective legal system for the detection, prosecution and punishment of acts constituting persecution or serious harm, and when the applicant has access to that protection.

3. When assessing whether an international organisation controls a State or a substantial part of its territory and provides protection as referred to in paragraph 2, determining authorities shall base themselves on any guidance provided in relevant Union law, in particular available Union level country of origin information and the common analysis of country of origin information referred to in Articles 8 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [ Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum ].

Article 8 - Internal protection

1. As part of the assessment of the application for international protection, the determining authority shall determine that an applicant is not in need of international protection if he or she can safely and legally travel to and gain admittance to a part of the country of origin and can reasonably be expected to settle there and if, in that part of the country, he or she:

(a)has no well-founded fear of being persecuted or is not at real risk of suffering serious harm; or

(b)has access to protection against persecution or serious harm.

2. The assessment of the availability of internal protection shall be carried out once it has been established by the determining authority that the qualification criteria would otherwise apply. The burden of demonstrating the availability of internal protection shall rest on the determining authority. The applicant shall not be required to prove that, before seeking international protection, he or she has exhausted all possibilities to obtain protection in his or her country of origin.

3. In examining whether an applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted or is at real risk of suffering serious harm, or has access to protection against persecution or serious harm in a part of the country of origin in accordance with paragraph 1, determining authorities shall at the time of taking the decision on the application have regard to the general circumstances prevailing in that part of the country and to the personal circumstances of the applicant in accordance with Article 4. To that end, determining authorities shall ensure that precise and up-to-date information is obtained from all relevant sources, including available Union level country of origin information and the common analysis of country of origin information referred to in Articles 8 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum], as well as information and guidance issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

4. When considering the general circumstances prevailing in that part of the country which is the source of the protection as referred to in Article 7, the accessibility, effectiveness and durability of that protection shall be taken into account. When considering personal circumstances of the applicant, health, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and social status shall in particular be taken into account together with an assessment of whether living in the part of the country of origin regarded as safe would not impose undue hardship on the applicant.

CHAPTER III

QUALIFICATION FOR BEING A REFUGEE

Article 9 - Acts of persecution

1. An act shall be regarded as an act of persecution within the meaning of Article 1(A) of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees done at Geneva on 28 July 1951, as amended by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967 (hereinafter referred as Geneva Convention),where :

(a)it is sufficiently serious by its nature or repetition as to constitute a severe violation of basic human rights, in particular the rights from which derogation cannot be made under Article 15(2) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; or

(b)it is an accumulation of various measures, including violations of human rights which is sufficiently severe as to affect an individual in a similar manner as referred to in point (a).

2. Acts of persecution as qualified in paragraph 1 may , among others, take the form of:

(a)acts of physical or mental violence, including acts of sexual violence;

(b)legal, administrative, police, and/or judicial measures which are in themselves discriminatory or which are implemented in a discriminatory manner;

(c)prosecution or punishment which is disproportionate or discriminatory;

(d)denial of judicial redress resulting in a disproportionate or discriminatory punishment;

(e)prosecution or punishment for refusal to perform military service in a conflict, where performing military service would include crimes or acts falling within the scope of the grounds for exclusion as set out in Article 12(2);

(f)acts of a gender-specific or child-specific nature.

3. In accordance with point (3) of Article 2, there must be a connection between the reasons mentioned in Article 10 and the acts of persecution as qualified in paragraph 1 of this Article or the absence of protection against such acts.

Article 10 - Reasons for persecution

1. The following elements shall be taken into account when assessing the reasons for persecution:

(a)the concept of race shall, in particular, include considerations of colour, descent, or membership of a particular ethnic group;

(b)the concept of religion shall, in particular, include the holding of theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, the participation in, or abstention from, formal worship in private or in public, either alone or in community with others, other religious acts or expressions of view, or forms of personal or communal conduct based on or mandated by any religious belief;

(c)the concept of nationality shall not be confined to citizenship or lack thereof but shall, in particular, include membership of a group determined by its cultural, ethnic, or linguistic identity, common geographical or political origins or its relationship with the population of another State;

(d)the concept of a particular social group shall include, in particular, a group where:

– members share an innate characteristic, or a common background that cannot be changed, or share a characteristic or belief that is so fundamental to identity or conscience that a person should not be forced to renounce it, and

– that group has a distinct identity in the relevant country, because it is perceived as being different by the surrounding society;

depending on the circumstances in the country of origin, the concept might include a group based on a common characteristic of sexual orientation (a term which cannot be understood to include acts considered to be criminal in accordance with national law of the Member States); gender related aspects, including gender identity, shall be given due consideration for the purposes of determining membership of a particular social group or identifying a characteristic of such a group;

(e)    the concept of political opinion shall, in particular, include the holding of an opinion, thought or belief on a matter related to the potential actors of persecution mentioned in Article 6 and to their policies or methods, whether or not that opinion, thought or belief has been acted upon by the applicant.

2. When assessing if an applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted it is immaterial whether the applicant actually possesses the racial, religious, national, social or political characteristic which attracts the persecution, provided that such a characteristic is attributed to the applicant by the actor of persecution.

3. When assessing if an applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted, the determining authority cannot reasonably expect an applicant to behave discreetly or abstain from certain practices, where such behaviour or practices are inherent to his or her identity, to avoid the risk of persecution in his or her country of origin.  

Article 11 - Cessation

1. A third-country national or a stateless person shall cease to be a refugee where one or more of the following apply:

(a)the person has voluntarily re-availed himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality;

(b)having lost his or her nationality, the person has voluntarily re-acquired it;

(c)the person has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his or her new nationality;

(d)the person has voluntarily re-established himself or herself in the country which he or she left or outside which he or she remained owing to fear of persecution;

(e)the person can no longer, because the circumstances in connection with which he or she has been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality;

(f)being a stateless person, the person is able, because the circumstances in connection with which he or she has been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist, to return to the country of former habitual residence.

Points (e) and (f) shall not apply to a refugee who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution for refusing to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality or, being a stateless person, of the country of former habitual residence.

2. When points (e) and (f) of paragraph 1 apply, the determining authority

(a)shall have regard to whether the change of circumstances is of such a significant and non-temporary nature that the refugee’s fear of persecution can no longer be regarded as well-founded;

(b)shall base itself on precise and up-to-date information obtained from all relevant sources, including Union level country of origin information and common analysis of country of origin information referred to in Articles 8 and 10 of the Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum] or information and guidance issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee.

Article 12 - Exclusion

1. A third-country national or a stateless person shall be excluded from being a refugee if:

(a)he or she falls within the scope of Article 1(D) of the Geneva Convention, relating to protection or assistance from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. When such protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons being definitely settled in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, those persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefits of this Regulation;

(b)he or she is recognised by the competent authorities of the country in which he or she has taken up residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country, or rights and obligations equivalent to those.

2. A third-country national or a stateless person shall be excluded from being a refugee where there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a)he or she has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;

(b)he or she has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his or her admission as a refugee, which means the time of issuing a residence permit based on the granting of refugee status; particularly cruel actions, even if committed with an allegedly political objective, may be classified as serious non-political crimes;

(c)he or she has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations as set out in the Preamble and Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter of the United Nations.

3. Paragraph 2 shall apply to persons who incite or otherwise participate in the commission of the crimes or acts mentioned therein.

4. When considering whether the protection pursuant to point (a) of paragraph 1 has ceased to exist, the determining authority shall ascertain whether the person concerned was forced to leave the area of operations of the relevant organ or agency. This shall be the case where that person’s personal safety was at serious risk and it was impossible for that organ or agency to guarantee that his or her living conditions in that area would be commensurate with the mission entrusted to that organ or agency.

5. For the purposes of points (b) and (c) of paragraph 2, the following acts shall be classified as serious non-political crimes:

(a)particularly cruel actions when the act in question is disproportionate to the alleged political objective,

(b)terrorist acts, which are characterised by their violence towards civilian populations, even if committed with a purportedly political objective.

6. The exclusion of a person from refugee status shall depend exclusively on whether the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) to (5) are met and shall not be subject to any additional proportionality assessment in relation to the particular case.

CHAPTER IV

REFUGEE STATUS

Article 13 - Granting of refugee status

The determining authority shall grant refugee status to a third-country national or a stateless person who qualifies as a refugee in accordance with Chapters II and III.

Article 14 - Revocation of, ending of or refusal to renew refugee status

1. The determining authority shall revoke, end or refuse to renew the refugee status of a third-country national or stateless person where :

(a)he or she has ceased to be a refugee in accordance with Article 11;

(b)he or she should have been or is excluded from being a refugee in accordance with Article 12;

(c)his or her misrepresentation or omission of facts, including the use of false documents, was decisive for the granting of refugee status;

(d)there are reasonable grounds for regarding him or her as a danger to the security of the Member State in which he or she is present;

(e)he or she, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of the Member State in which he or she is present;

(f) Article 23(2) is applied.

2. In situations referred to in points (d) to (f) of paragraph 1, the determining authority may decide not to grant status to a refugee, where such a decision has not yet been taken.

3. Persons to whom points (d) to (f) of paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 apply shall be entitled to rights set out in or similar to those set out in Articles 3, 4, 16, 22, 31, 32 and 33 of the Geneva Convention in so far as they are present in the Member State.

4. Without prejudice to the duty of the refugee in accordance with Article 4(1) to disclose all relevant facts and provide all relevant documentation at his or her disposal, the determining authority which has granted refugee status shall, on an individual basis, demonstrate that the person concerned has ceased to be or has never been a refugee for the reasons set out in paragraph 1 of this Article.

5. Decisions of the determining authority revoking, ending or refusing to renew refugee status pursuant to point (a) of paragraph 1 shall only take effect three months after the decision is adopted, in order to provide the third-country national or stateless person with the opportunity to apply for residence in the Member State on other grounds in accordance with relevant Union and national law.

Article 15 - Review of refugee status

In order to apply Article 14(1), the determining authority shall review the refugee status in particular:

(a)where Union level country of origin information and common analysis of country of origin information as referred in Articles 8 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum] indicate a significant change in the country of origin which is relevant for the protection needs of the applicant;

(b)when renewing, for the first time, the residence permit issued to a refugee.

CHAPTER V

QUALIFICATION FOR SUBSIDIARY PROTECTION

Article 16 - Serious harm

Serious harm as referred to in Article 2 (5), consists of:

(a)the death penalty or execution; or

(b)torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of an applicant in the country of origin; or

(c)a serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.

Article 17 - Cessation

1. A third-country national or a stateless person shall cease to be eligible for subsidiary protection when the circumstances which led to the granting of subsidiary protection status have ceased to exist or have changed to such a degree that protection is no longer required.

2. The determining authority:

(a)shall have regard whether the change in circumstances is of such a significant and non-temporary nature that the person eligible for subsidiary protection no longer faces a real risk of serious harm;

(b)shall base itself on precise and up-to-date information obtained from all relevant sources, including Union level country of origin information and the common analysis on country of origin information as referred in Articles 8 and 10 of the Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum] or information and guidance issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee.

3. Paragraph 1 shall not apply to a beneficiary of subsidiary protection status who is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous serious harm for refusing to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality or, being a stateless person, of the country of former habitual residence.

Article 18 - Exclusion

1. A third-country national or a stateless person shall be excluded from being eligible for subsidiary protection where there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a)he or she has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;

(b)he or she has committed a serious crime;

(c)he or she has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations as set out in the Preamble and Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter of the United Nations;

(d)he or she constitutes a danger to the community or to the security of the Member State in which he or she is present;

(e)he or she, prior to his or her admission to the Member State concerned, has committed one or more crimes outside the scope of points (a), (b) and (c) which would be punishable by imprisonment if they been committed in the Member State concerned, and if he or she left his or her country of origin solely in order to avoid sanctions resulting from those crimes.

2. Points (a) to (d) of paragraph 1 shall apply to persons who incite or otherwise participate in the commission of the crimes or acts mentioned therein.

CHAPTER VI

SUBSIDIARY PROTECTION STATUS

Article 19 - Granting of subsidiary protection status

The determining authority shall grant subsidiary protection status to a third-country national or a stateless person who is eligible for subsidiary protection in accordance with Chapters II and V.

Article 20 - Revocation of, ending of or refusal to renew subsidiary protection status

1. The determining authority shall revoke, end or refuse to renew the subsidiary protection status of a third-country national or a stateless person where :

(a)he or she has ceased to be eligible for subsidiary protection in accordance with Article 17;

(b)after having been granted subsidiary protection status, he or she should have been or is excluded from being eligible for subsidiary protection in accordance with Article 18;

(c)his or her misrepresentation or omission of facts, including the use of false documents, was decisive for the granting of subsidiary protection status;

(d)Article 23(2) is applied.

2. Without prejudice to the duty of the third-country national or stateless person pursuant to Article 4(1) to disclose all relevant facts and provide all relevant documentation at his or her disposal, the Member State which has granted the subsidiary protection status shall, on an individual basis, demonstrate that the person concerned has ceased to be or is not eligible for subsidiary protection in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.

3. Decisions of the determining authority revoking, ending or refusing to renew subsidiary protection status pursuant to paragraph 1 (a) shall only take effect three months after the decision is taken, in order to provide the third-country national or stateless person with the opportunity to apply for residence in the Member State on other grounds in accordance with relevant Union and national law.

Article 21 - Review of the subsidiary protection status In order to apply Article 20(1), the determining authority shall review the subsidiary protection status in particular

(a)where Union level country of origin information and common analysis of country of origin information as referred in Articles 8 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No XXX/XX [Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum ] indicate a significant change in the country of origin which is relevant for the protection needs of the applicant,

(b)when renewing, for the first and second time, the residence permit issued to a beneficiary of subsidiary protection.

CHAPTER VII

CONTENT OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF BENEFICIARIES OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

Section I
Common provisions

Article 22 - General rules

1. Refugees and persons who have been granted subsidiary protection status shall have the rights and obligations laid down in this Chapter. This Chapter shall be without prejudice to the rights and obligations laid down in the Geneva Convention.

2. This Chapter shall apply both to refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection unless otherwise indicated.

3. Within the limits set by international obligations, granting of benefits with regard to access to employment, social security shall require the prior issuing of a residence permit.

4. When applying the provisions of this Chapter, the specific situation of persons with special needs such as minors, unaccompanied minors, disabled people, elderly people, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, victims of human trafficking, persons with mental disorders and persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence shall be taken into account provided an individual evaluation of their situation establishes that they have special needs.

5. When applying the provisions of this Chapter that involve minors the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration to the relevant authorities.

Article 23 - Protection from refoulement

1. Member States shall respect the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with their international obligations.

2. Where not prohibited by the international obligations referred to in paragraph 1, refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection may be refouled, whether formally recognised or not, when:

(a)there are reasonable grounds for considering him or her as a danger to the security of the Member State in which he or she is present;

(b)he or she, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime constitutes a danger to the community of that Member State.

In those cases the refugee status or the subsidiary protection status shall also be withdrawn in accordance with Article 14 or Article 20 respectively.

Article 24 - Information

The competent authorities shall provide beneficiaries of international protection with information on the rights and obligations relating to refugee status or subsidiary protection status, as soon as possible after that has been granted. That information shall be provided in a language that the beneficiary can understand or is reasonably supposed to understand and shall make explicit references to the consequences of not complying with the obligations outlined in Article 28 on movement within the Union.

The form and content of that information shall be determined by the Commission by means of implementing acts adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 58 (1) of Regulation (EU)XXX/XXX [Procedures regulation.].

Article 25 - Maintaining family unity

1. Family members of a beneficiary of international protection who do not individually qualify for such protection shall be entitled to claim a residence permit in accordance with national procedures and insofar as this is compatible with the personal legal status of the family member.

2. A residence permit issued pursuant to paragraph 1 shall have the duration of the residence permit issued to the beneficiary of international protection and shall be renewable. The period of validity of the residence permit granted to the family member shall in principle not extend beyond the date of expiry of the residence permit held by the beneficiary of international protection.

3. No residence permit shall be issued for a family member where that family member is or would be excluded from international protection pursuant to Chapters III and V.

4. Where reasons of national security or public order so require, a residence permit shall not be issued for a family member and such residence permits which have already been issued shall be withdrawn or shall not be renewed.

5. Family members who are issued a residence permit pursuant to paragraph 1 shall be entitled to the rights referred to in Articles 27 to 39.

6. Member States may decide that this article also applies to other close relatives who lived together as part of the family at the time of leaving the country of origin or before the applicant arrived on the territory of the Member States, and who were wholly or mainly dependent on the beneficiary of international protection at the time.


Section II
Rights and obligations related to residence and stay

Article 26 - Residence permits

1. No later than 30 days after international protection has been granted, a residence permit shall be issued using the uniform format as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002.

(a)For beneficiaries of refugee status, the residence permit shall have a period of validity of three years and be renewable thereafter for periods of three years.

(b)For beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status, the residence permit shall have a period of validity of one year and be renewable thereafter for periods of two years.

2. A residence permit shall not be renewed or shall be revoked in the following cases:

(a)where competent authorities revoke, end or refuse to renew the refugee status of a third-country national in accordance with Article 14 and the subsidiary protection status in accordance with Article 20;

(b)where Article 23(2) is applied;

(c)where reasons of national security or public order so require.

3. When applying Article 14(5) and 20(3), the residence permit shall only be revoked after the expiry of the three month period referred to in those provisions.

Article 27 - Travel document

1. Competent authorities shall issue travel documents to beneficiaries of refugee status, in the form set out in the Schedule to the Geneva Convention and with the minimum security features and biometrics outlined in Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 45 . Those travel documents shall be valid for at least one year.

2. Competent authorities shall issue travel documents with the minimum security features and biometrics outlined in Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status who are unable to obtain a national passport. Those documents shall be valid for at least one year. 

3. The documents referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not be issued where compelling reasons of national security or public order so require.

Article 28 - Freedom of movement within the Member State

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy freedom of movement within the territory of the Member State that granted international protection, including the right to choose their place of residence in that territory, under the same conditions and restrictions as those provided for other third-country nationals legally resident in their territories who are in a comparable situation.

2. Within the limits set by international obligations, residence conditions may be imposed on a beneficiary of international protection who receives certain specific social security or social assistance benefits only where those residence conditions are necessary to facilitate the integration of the beneficiary in the Member State that has granted that protection. 

Article 29 - Movement within the Union

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall not have the right to reside in Member States other than the one which granted protection. This is without prejudice to their right to apply and be admitted to reside in other Member States pursuant to relevant provisions of Union and national law and their right to move freely in accordance with the conditions of Article 21 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement.

2. Where a beneficiary is found in a Member State other the one that him or her granted protection without a right stay or the right to reside there in accordance with relevant Union or national law, he will be subject to a take back procedure as defined under Article 20(1)(e) of the Dublin Regulation (EU) no. xxx/xxx.


Section III
Rights related to integration

Article 30 - Access to employment

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall have the right to engage in employed or self-employed activities subject to the rules generally applicable to the profession and to the public service, immediately after protection has been granted.

2. Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the Member State that has granted protection as regards:

(a)working conditions, including pay and dismissal, working hours, leave and holidays as well as health and safety requirements at the workplace;

(b)freedom of association and affiliation, and membership of an organisation representing workers or employers or of any organisation whose members are engaged in a specific occupation, including the benefits conferred by such organisations;

(c)employment-related education opportunities for adults, vocational training, including training courses for upgrading skills, practical workplace experience;

(d)advice services afforded by employment offices.

3. Competent authorities, where necessary shall facilitate the full access to the activities referred to in paragraph (2)(c) and (d).

Article 31 - Access to education

1. Minors granted international protection shall have full access to the education system, under the same conditions as nationals of the Member State that has granted protection.

2. Adults granted international protection shall have access to the general education system, further training or retraining, under the same conditions as third-country nationals legally resident in that Member State who are in a comparable situation.

Article 32 - Access to procedures for recognition of qualifications and validation of skills

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the Member State that has granted protection in the context of the existing recognition procedures for foreign diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications.

2. Competent authorities shall facilitate full access to the procedures mentioned in paragraph 1 to those beneficiaries of international protection who cannot provide documentary evidence of their qualifications without prejudice to Articles 2(2) and 3(3) of Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 46

3. Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the Member State that has granted protection as regards access to appropriate schemes for the assessment, validation and accreditation of their prior learning and experience.

Article 33 - Social security

Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the Member State that has granted protection with regard to social security.

Article 34 - Social assistance

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the Member State that has granted protection as regards social assistance.

Access to certain social assistance specified in national law may be made conditional on the effective participation of the beneficiary of international protection in integration measures. 

2. For beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status Member States may limit social assistance to core benefits.

Article 35 - Healthcare

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall have access to healthcare under the same eligibility conditions as nationals of the Member State that has granted such protection.

2. Beneficiaries of international protection who have special needs, such as pregnant women, disabled people, persons who have undergone torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence or minors who have been victims of any form of abuse, neglect, exploitation, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or who have suffered from armed conflict shall be provided adequate healthcare, including treatment of mental disorders when needed, under the same eligibility conditions as nationals of the Member State that has granted protection.

Article 36 - Unaccompanied minors

1. As soon as possible after international protection is granted and within five working days at the latest, as outlined in Article 22(1) of Regulation EU no xxx/xxx[Procedures regulation], competent authorities shall take the necessary measures to ensure the representation of unaccompanied minors by a legal guardian or, where necessary, by an organisation responsible for the care and well-being of minors, or by any other appropriate representation including that based on legislation or court order.

Where an organisation is appointed as guardian, it shall as soon as possible designate a person responsible for carrying out the duties of guardian in respect of the unaccompanied minor, in accordance with this Regulation.

2. The appointed guardian shall have the duty of ensuring that the minor can access all rights stemming from this Regulation. The appropriate authorities shall regularly assess the performance of the appointed guardian.

3. Unaccompanied minors shall be placed in one of the following ways:

(a)with adult relative;

(b)with a foster family;

(c)in centres specialised in accommodation for minors;

(d)in other accommodation suitable for minors.

The views of the minor shall be taken into account in accordance with his or her age and degree of maturity.

4. As far as possible, siblings shall be kept together, taking into account the best interests of the minor concerned and, in particular, his or her age and degree of maturity. Changes of residence of unaccompanied minors shall be limited to a minimum.

5. If an unaccompanied minor is granted international protection and the tracing of his or her family members has not already started, competent authorities shall start tracing them as soon as possible after the granting of international protection, whilst protecting the minor’s best interests. If tracing has already started, it shall be continued where appropriate. In cases where there may be a threat to the life or integrity of the minor or his or her close relatives, particularly if they have remained in the country of origin, care must be taken to ensure that the collection, processing and circulation of information concerning those persons is undertaken on a confidential basis.

6. The persons and organisations working with unaccompanied minors shall receive continuous appropriate training concerning the rights and needs of minors and child safeguarding standards will be respected as referred to in Art 22 of Regulation EU No xxx/xxx[Procedures regulation].

Article 37 - Access to accommodation

1. Beneficiaries of international protection shall have access to accommodation under conditions equivalent to those applicable to other third-country nationals legally resident in the territories of the Member States who are in a comparable situation.

2. National dispersal practices of beneficiaries of international protection shall be carried out to the extent possible without discrimination of beneficiaries of international protection and shall ensure equal opportunities regarding access to accommodation.

Article 38 - Access to integration measures

1. In order to facilitate the integration of beneficiaries of international protection into society, beneficiaries of international protection shall have access to integration measures provided by the Member States, in particular language courses, civic orientation and integration programs and vocational training which take into account their specific needs.

2. Member States may make participation in integration measures compulsory.

Article 39 - Repatriation

Assistance shall be provided to beneficiaries of international protection who wish to be repatriated.

CHAPTER VIII

ADMINISTRATIVE COOPERATION

Article 40 - Cooperation

Each Member State shall appoint a national contact point and communicate its address to the Commission. The Commission shall communicate that information to the other Member States.

Member States shall, in liaison with the Commission, take all appropriate measures to establish direct cooperation and an exchange of information between the competent authorities.

Article 41 - Staff

Authorities and other organisations applying the provisions of this Regulation shall have received or shall receive the necessary training and shall be bound by the confidentiality principle, as defined in national law, in relation to any information they obtain in the course of their work.

CHAPTER IX

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 42 - Committee Procedure

1. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee [established by Article 58 of xxx of Regulation (EU)XXX/XXX [Procedures regulation]]. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

3. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 8 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011, in conjunction with Article 5 thereof, shall apply.

Article 43 - Monitoring and evaluation

By no later than two years from entry into force of this Regulation and every five years thereafter, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation and shall, where appropriate, propose the necessary amendments.

Member States shall forward to the Commission all information appropriate for the preparation of that report, at the latest nine months before that time limit expires.

Article 44 - Amendment to Directive 2003/109/EU

1. In Article 4 of Directive 2003/109/EU, the following paragraph 3 a is inserted:

"3a.Where a beneficiary of international protection is found in a Member State, other than the one that granted international protection, without a right to stay or to reside there in accordance with relevant Union or national law, the period of legal stay preceding such a situation shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the period referred to in paragraph 1."


2. The following Article 26a is inserted:

"Article 26 - a Transposition of Article 4(3a)

The Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Article 4(3a) of this Directive by [six months after the entry into force of this Regulation] at the latest. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof."

Article 45 - Repeal

Directive 2011/95/EC is repealed with effect from the date of entry into force of this Regulation. References to the repealed Directive should be construed as references to this Regulation and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table in Annex II.

Article 46 - Entry into force and applicability

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall start to apply from [six months from its entry into force].

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in the Member States in accordance with the Treaties.