Residence permits for all beneficiaries of international protection in the EU should be valid for five years and be renewable for additional five-year periods, according to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee.
MEPs on June 15 backed a new “Qualification” regulation on the recognition of people in need of protection and for the rights granted to them.
By turning the previous directive into a regulation, which is directly applicable by member states, criteria and standards for the recognition of a refugee status become more harmonised. The legislation was passed by 40 votes in favour to 13 against and with 4 abstentions.
According to a European Parliament press release, the aim of the regulation is to ensure asylum seekers face equal treatment and get the same form of protection regardless of the member state in which they file their request. This should help reduce ‘asylum-shopping’. MEPs also want to improve integration in the societies hosting refugees.
MEPs aim to minimise the distinction in terms of rights between refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection (people at real risk of serious harm if they return to their home country, but who do not qualify for refugee status). Subsidiary protection was set up as a response to a short-term need, but this has not proved to be the case.
As regards unaccompanied minors, MEPs included provisions to make sure that they receive adequate protection, like any other children in the country they are located. They should have a guardian appointed, if possible the same one since their arrival to the EU, and be placed with relatives, foster families or in open specialised centres.
“New harmonised rules on international protection offer new hope for people in need in the EU and decrease the administrative burden for the member states. Equal status for refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries in terms of rights, guarantees and the length of the residence permits of five years offers a real chance to integrate,” said MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D).