Cessation and review of protection status

Bulgaria

Country Report: Cessation and review of protection status Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

According to Article 15(1) LAR, international protection may be ceased if the protection holder:

  1. Can no longer refuse to avail him or herself of the protection of his or her country of origin, as the circumstances that had given rise to fears of persecution have ceased to exist and the transformation in said circumstances is substantial enough and of a non-temporary nature;
  2. Voluntarily avails him or herself of the protection of his or her country of origin;
  3. Voluntarily re-acquires citizenship after having lost it, or acquires new citizenship in another country;
  4. Acquires Bulgarian citizenship;
  5. Voluntarily settles in the country where he or she was previously persecuted;
  6. Has been granted refugee status by the President; or
  7. Explicitly declares that he or she no longer wishes to enjoy the international protection granted in Bulgaria.

The interviewer makes the proposal for the cessation of the international protection in case relevant data has been gathered to indicate the legal grounds for it. Both procedures ought to be initiated by a decision of the SAR’s Chairperson. The protection holder is to be notified by a letter with recorded delivery that such a procedure has been initiated, the reasons thereof and the date and place for an interview in which he or she will have the opportunity to raise any objections against the cessation of the protection status. As of the date of notification, the SAR has 3 months to issue a decision. Such decision can also be taken in the absence of opinion or objections by the protection status holder if they have not been made on his own failure.  When the SAR has not established the grounds for cessation, the initiated procedure must be discontinued.

The cessation can be appealed within 14 days after being notified to the individual before the respective Regional Administrative Court. The appeal can be heard at two court instances where the decision of the second instance, the Supreme Administrative Court, is final. Legal aid can be appointed by the court on a request of the appellant (see section Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance).

Although there is no systematic review of protection status in practice, cessation procedures are initiated by the SAR when the MOI provides information indicating that status holders have either returned to their country of origin, obtained residence or citizenship in a third country, or have not renewed their Bulgarian identification documents for a period exceeding 3 years. This broadened interpretation of the recast Qualification Directive introduces de facto an additional cessation ground in violation of national and EU legislation. The undue cessation of protection status affected 3,378 status holders in 2018 and 2019; i.e. 770 persons in 2018 and 2,608 persons in 2019 respectively. More precisely in 2019, the concerned individuals were from Syria (1,981 individuals), Iraq (177), stateless (267), Afghanistan (81), Iran (26), Somalia (34), Sudan (8), Turkey (6), Tunisia (3), Lebanon (3), Ethiopia (2), Eritrea (1), Egypt (2), Congo (2), Cuba (2), Mali (2), Jordan (2), Algeria (1), Bangladesh (1), Morocco (1), Rwanda (1), Russia (1), Ukraine (1) and Sri Lanka (1).[1]

 


[1]           Information provided by SAR, 15 January 2020.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation