Reports & Working Papers

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UNHCR Comments on the European Commission Proposal for a Qualification Regulation – COM (2016) 466
Release year: 2018
Organisation: UNHCR

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asylum, Qualification Directive
These comments complement UNHCR’s overarching proposals for the EU as set out in: “Better Protecting Refugees in the EU and Globally” (December 2016), aimed at rebuilding trust through better management, partnership and solidarity. Those proposals focus on four elements: engagement beyond EU borders, preparedness, a well -managed asylum system and greater emphasis on integration. The pressures and shortcomings observed in some Member States following large- scale arrivals in 2015 highlighted the need for a revitalized asylum system in the EU. In its overarching proposals UNHCR recommends that, in addition to ensuring access to territory is guaranteed and new arrivals are registered and received properly, a new asylum system would also allocate responsibility for asylum-seekers fairly among EU Member States, and ensure that EU Member States are equipped to fulfil their task. To complement and elaborate on these overarching proposals, UNHCR is setting out its position on the European Commission’s proposals to reform the CEAS in a series of detailed commentaries. This paper contains UNHCR’s comments on the specific aspects of the EC’s proposal for a Qualification Regulation. UNHCR calls on States to apply all legal concepts for determining refugee or subsidiary protection status in full compliance with international refugee and human rights law, including EU law and EU fundamental rights standards. States should grant refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection a secure and stable status, and support their ability to integrate through granting of such status and associated rights, and facilitate their naturalization, with incentives used to reduce onward movement, rather thansanctions. UNHCR therefore considers that integration measures should be available, accessible and affordable or free of charge. As the proposal would turn the current Qualification Directive into a Regulation, and thus give it directly binding effect, realizing these elements is even more essential for the purpose of achieving harmonised and high quality protection standards throughout the EU.