Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 18/03/21


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There is no explicit policy of considering specific nationalities as manifestly well-founded. At most, some nationalities obtain higher rates of protection than the average rate e.g. Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. These countries had first instance recognition rates of 95.2%, 84.2% and 83.1% respectively in 2017.[1] In 2018, rates for Afghanistan dropped to 67.4%, for Syria to 85.6% and for Iraq to 73.1% according to Eurostat. Similarly in 2019, rates for Afghanistan dropped to 62.5%, for Syria to 71,5% and 66,8% for Iraq according to Eurostat. The data for 2020 was not available at the time of writing.

Since a CNDA judgment of March 2018, Afghan nationals widely benefitted from protection. The CNDA held that the situation of indiscriminate violence in Kabul is of such degree for Article 15(c) to be triggered by a person’s mere presence.[2] However, in a Grand chamber decision of 19 November 2020, the CNDA changed its position, now considering that the level of violence in Kabul is not high enough to justify a protection for all people arriving at airports.[3] This means that individual circumstances need to be assessed again and puts Afghan nationals at risk of return. It is also likely to have important consequences in practice given that Afghans have been the first nationality of applicants in France since 2018 and recent Eurostat statistics indicate that a total of 17,520 applications for international protection of Afghan nationals were pending as of the end of December 2020.[4] The new CNDA ruling is thus likely to impact their situation in the future. Yet, in its recent country of origin report on the Security situation in Afghanistan of 28 September 2020, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) confirmed that the conflict in the country continued to be described as one of the deadliest in the world for civilians and adds that “several sources reported a spike in violence during the first six months of 2020, with an increase in the number of civilian casualties, particularly in the northern and north-eastern regions”.[5]In addition, several rulings have prevented Dublin transfers of Afghan nationals to countries where their asylum applications have been rejected (see Dublin: Suspension of Transfers).

Furthermore, differential treatment of specific nationalities seems to be applied in the framework of ad hoc relocation schemes implemented since June 2018. Following “boat-by-boat” agreements following disembarkation in Italy, Malta and Spain, over 280 persons have been relocated to France in 2018.[6] In October 2019, a member of the government stated that more than 600 people have been admitted in France through relocation within a year. At the end of 2019 France offered assistance to return rejected asylum seekers, to combat “illegal immigration” and to relocate 400 asylum seekers from Greece.[7]In February 2021, 275 asylum seekers and 131 unaccompanied minors have been transferred from Greece to France as part of the ‘voluntary relocation scheme from Greece to other European countries’.[8]

All relocated persons have previously undergone interviews with OFPRA, for the Office to assess their need for protection and potential threats to public order. No official data are available about this mechanism or the nationality of selected persons. However, it appears through communication on arrival in France from OFII and the Ministry of Interior that relocated persons are mainly from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Following their arrival, these persons have been quickly received by OFII and granted refugee status by OFPRA.

Asylum seekers that are nationals of countries listed as safe are dealt with most of the time under an accelerated procedure (see Safe Country of Origin). Their access to asylum from detention is also more circumscribed compared to other nationalities (see Registration). The average protection rate for such nationalities was 10.8% in 2018, at first and second instance combined, but there are important variations from one country to another. For example, in 2019, Kosovo had a general rate of 24.7%, Senegal had a rate of 22.8%, while Albania had 10.7%.

[1] OFPRA, ‘Les données de l’asile 2017 à l’OFPRA, 8 January 2018, available at: http://bit.ly/2EVQB5y.

[2] CNDA, M. H., Decision No 17045561, 9 March 2018.

[3] CNDA, Decision N° 19009476 R, 19 November 2020 available in French at : https://bit.ly/2KCsYXX; CNDA, Decision N° 18054661 R, 19 November 2020, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3d5uJsB.

[4]  Eurostat, [migr_asypenctzm]

[5] EASO, Afghanistan Security situation – COI Report, September 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3aixrJL

[6] Senate, Reply to written question n. 05842, 24 January 2019, available in French at: https://bit.ly/2GRdMlI.

[7] ECRE, ‘France to assist Greece where situation continues to worsen’, 20 December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/31u27By.

[8] IOM, ‘Voluntary relocation scheme from Greece to other European countries’, Factsheet, 3 February 2021. https://bit.ly/2Z2JB2B.

Table of contents

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