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Migration and Home Affairs

Who qualifies for international protection

The Qualification Directive

The current Qualification Directive of 2011 amends Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted.

The Qualification Directive sets out criteria for applicants to qualify for refugee status or subsidiary protection status and sets out the rights afforded to persons who have been granted one of those statuses. They include the right to a residence permit, travel document, access to employment, access to education, social welfare, healthcare, access to accommodation, access to integration facilities, as well as specific provisions for children and vulnerable persons. More specifically, it:

  • clarifies the grounds for granting and withdrawing international protection
  • regulates exclusion and cessation grounds
  • improves the access of beneficiaries of international protection to rights and integration measures
  • takes into account the specific practical difficulties faced by beneficiaries of international protection
  • ensures that the best interest of the child and gender-related aspects are taken into account in the assessment of asylum applications, as well as in the implementation of the rules on the content of international protection

The directive allows EU countries to put in place or to keep more favourable standards than those set out in its provisions.

The revised Qualification Regulation proposal

In order to further streamline the standards for the recognition and protection offered at EU level, the Commission proposed, in 2016, a proposal for a Qualification Regulation. The 2016 proposal for a new Qualification Regulation aims at:

  • further harmonising common criteria for qualifying for international protection, thus ensuring further convergence of asylum decisions across the EU
  • codifying the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in this field
  • ensuring that protection is granted only for as long as the grounds for persecution or serious harm persist, without affecting the person's integration prospects
  • addressing secondary movements of beneficiaries of international protection
  • further clarifying and harmonising the rights that beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to.

The Commission supports a quick adoption of the text of the political compromise agreed upon by the European Parliament and the Council in 2018.

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