According to Article 2 of the International Protection 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 the applicant has not submitted any serious grounds for considering the country not to be a safe country of origin in his particular circumstances.
The 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 2020 when it included Bangladesh and Morocco. Currently the list of safe country of origin includes: Australia, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Gabon, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Senegal, United States of America, Uruguay, Member States of the European Union and EEA countries. The criteria as to which countries are listed/removed is unclear.
The concept of safe country of origin can be used to consider an application manifestly unfounded. This would, in turn, render the accelerated procedure applicable.
As already mentioned, it looks like this concept is now implemented speedily to reject applications, especially from nationals of Bangladesh, Morocco, Ghana and Egypt. It also concerns applicants having claims within scope of the refugee or subsidiary protection definition who might see their applications deemed manifestly unfounded and, as a consequence, denied the possibility to appeal. On the basis of application of this principle, they would immediately receive a return decision/removal order once the IPAT confirms the application as being manifestly unfounded.
The amendments of December 2021 introduced a new provision in the Procedural Regulations which establishes that “the concept of safe country of origin can only be applied to those countries which have been designated as safe countries by the International Protection Agency and included in the Schedule to the Act.” It has yet to be seen how this amendment will be implemented in practice.
In 2020, 210 applications were rejected as manifestly unfounded on the basis that the applicants were coming from a safe country of origin.
In 2021, 303 applications were rejected as manifestly unfounded on the basis that the applicants were coming from a safe country of origin. This concerns nearly all applications made by Bangladeshis, Egyptians and Moroccans (265 out of 272 rejections).
 Articles 8(1)(h) and 23 International Protection Act.
 Regulation 23(2) of the Procedural Regulations.