According to the Refugees Act, a safe country of origin means a country of which the applicant is a national or, being a stateless person, was formerly habitually resident in that country and he has not submitted any serious grounds for considering the country not to be a safe country of origin in his particular circumstances.
The Refugees Act also provides by way of a Schedule the list of countries of origin considered as safe. The Minister responsible for Home Affairs is competent to amend the list of countries and may review the list whenever necessary by means of an administrative act. The last amendment to the list is dated 2008. Currently the list of safe country of origin includes: Australia, Iceland, Benin, India, Botswana, Jamaica, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Liechtenstein, Cape Verde, New Zealand, Chile, Norway, Croatia, Senegal, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Gabon, United States of America, Ghana, Uruguay, Member States of the European Union and European Economic Area. The basis on which countries are listed/removed is unclear.
The concept of safe country of origin can be used to consider an application manifestly unfounded and therefore would make it fall under the accelerated procedure.1 It can also be used to deem an application inadmissible.2