Cessation and review of protection status

Netherlands

Country Report: Cessation and review of protection status Last updated: 18/03/21

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Grounds for cessation of status

 

Article 32(1)(c) of the Aliens Act provides the grounds for cessation of temporary asylum status. This article applies to recognised refugees as well as to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. It states that temporary asylum status can be revoked, and the request to extend the period of validity can be denied, in case the legal ground for granting protection status has ceased to exist. The temporary asylum status of a recognised refugee will be revoked in case Article 32(1)(c) of the Aliens Act applies,[1] as will be the case for temporary asylum status of a beneficiary of subsidiary protection.[2]

 

Cessation of refugee status or subsidiary protection is further explained in Paragraph C2/10.4 of the Aliens Circular.

 

Ceased circumstances

In considering whether a temporary asylum status, granted to a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, will be revoked because the legal ground for granting status is no longer applicable, the Dutch authorities shall have regard to whether the change of circumstances is of such a significant and non-temporary nature that the fear of persecution or the real risk of serious harm can no longer be regarded as well-founded.[3] The legal basis for granting protection status has not ceased to exist if the beneficiary can state compelling grounds arising out of previous persecution or former serious harm, to refuse to request protection of the country of his or her nationality or his or her former place of residence.[4] It will be stated in the country-based asylum policy whether the IND considers a change of circumstances in the overall situation in (a particular area of) a certain country to be significant and non-temporary for the purposes of cessation.[5]

If the IND finds that the legal ground for granting a temporary asylum status has ceased to exist, and the change of circumstances is of a significant and non-temporary nature, it investigates in any case:[6]

  • Whether at the time of granting temporary asylum status another legal ground for granting protection status, provided for in Article 29(1) or (2) of the Aliens Act, applied;
  • Whether at the time of review of the temporary asylum status another ground for granting protection status, as provided for in Article 29(1) or (2) of the Aliens Act, applies;
  • Whether the status holder can state compelling grounds arising out of previous persecution or former serious harm to refuse to return to his or her country of origin.

 

If at least one of these conditions applies, the IND does not revoke temporary asylum status.

 

If the status holder has a permanent status of international protection, ceased circumstances do not lead to the revocation of the status (article 35 Aliens Act).

 

In January 2020, the IND decided that it would no longer consider certain parts of Sudan to be in a conflict that reaches the Article 15c QD-standards. At the same time, the IND announced starting a reassessment of all subsidiary protection statuses that were granted in line with the country policy stating that there was a 15c-situation in some parts of Sudan. The IND announced that around a hundred statuses were going to be reassessed because they believed that the change of circumstances in Sudan had such a significant and non-temporary nature that the fear of persecution or the real risk of serious harm could no longer be regarded as well-founded (article 3.37g Aliens Regulation).[7] Although the concerned beneficiaries of subsidiary protection received a letter around May 2020 that there status would be reassessed within 6 months, most of the beneficiaries are still waiting for the IND to decide whether their status will be maintained or the cessation procedure will be started with written intention to surcease.

 

The IND also assumes that the ground for cessation ‘ceased circumstances’ applies if the beneficiary of international protection has neither applied for an extension of the period of validity of his or her status nor for a permanent asylum residence permit (paragraph C2/10.4 Aliens Circular). This hypothetical policy is quite new.[8] Before, if the BIP did not renew his residence permit in time, it would be possible that there was a short time in which he did not have legal stay. This was problematic for certain allowances and for employer. There is barely any case law on this new phenomenon.

 

Voluntary return

The Aliens Circular stipulates that voluntary return to the country of origin is not a sufficient ground for the IND to revoke temporary asylum status. In case the IND finds that a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection has, of his or her own free will, returned to his or her country of origin, the IND will conduct an interview concerning this journey. It is then up to the status holder to prove that he or she is still in need of protection.

 

Voluntary re-availing

 

Considering Article 1C of the 1951 Refugee Convention, it is stipulated that a temporary asylum status of a recognised refugee shall be revoked in case he or she requests and receives a passport from the authorities of the country of origin. Temporary asylum status is not revoked in case the recognised refugee can prove that Article 1C of the Refugee Convention does not apply.[9]

 

Cessation procedure

 

The Aliens Act provides that the intention procedure[10] is applicable in case a temporary asylum status is revoked.[11] Under the intention procedure, the status holder is informed in writing of the intention to revoke his or her temporary asylum status. Within 6 weeks the status holder can put forward his or her view on the intention to revoke temporary asylum status.[12] In case the IND still intends to revoke temporary asylum status, the status holder will be allowed an interview.[13] During the interview the status holder will be given the opportunity to react on the intention to revoke temporary asylum status and explain his or her view on this. The legal representative can attend the interview.

 

In the decision to revoke temporary asylum status, the IND considers on its own accord, on the basis of Article 3.6a of the Aliens Decree, whether the status holder can be granted a temporary regular residence permit, or whether there are sufficient grounds for granting delay of departure from the Netherlands on medical grounds.[14]

 

The cessation decision states that there is an obligation to leave the country within 4 weeks.[15] Within 4 weeks the status holder can appeal the decision to revoke the temporary asylum status before the Regional Court.[16] In case a timely appeal has been made, the status holder retains his or her right to lawful residence in the Netherlands on the basis of Article 8(c) of the Aliens Act. This means that the status holder retains his or her material rights, until the court’s decision, including the right to a residence permit. The status holder has a right to legal assistance during the procedure.

 

The IND can review protection status at any time. As the temporary asylum status is valid for 5 years, the refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection must either apply to extend the period of validity of his or her status or apply for a permanent asylum residence permit. At that time, the IND systematically reviews protection statuses.

 

[1]Article 3.105d Aliens Decree.

[2]Article 3.105f Aliens Decree.

[3]Article 3.37g Aliens Regulation.

[4]Article 3.37g Aliens Regulation.

[5]Paragraph C2/10.4 Aliens Circular.

[6]Paragraph C2/10.4 Aliens Circular.

[7]Decree WBV 2020/1 of 12 January 2020, Stb. 2020, 3262, amending the Aliens Circular 2000, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3i9r1yB.

[8] Decree WBV 2018/10 of 20 September 2018, Stb. 2018, 52887, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/38FLDLM.

[9] Paragraph C2/10.4 Aliens Circular.

[10]  Article 38 Aliens Act.

[11]Article 41(1) Aliens Act.

[12]Article 3.116(2)(b) Aliens Decree.

[13]Article 41(2) Aliens Act.

[14] Article 64 Aliens Act.

[15] Article 62(1) Aliens Act.

[16]Article 69(1) Aliens Act.

 

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