Cessation and review of protection status

Portugal

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

Author

Portuguese Refugee Council Visit Website

Competence for taking decisions on the cessation of international protection lies with the Ministry of Home Affairs on the basis of a proposal put forward by the national director of SEF.[1] The representative of UNHCR or CPR shall be informed of the declaration of the loss of the right to international protection.[2]

The Asylum Act establishes the grounds for cessation of international protection.[3]

Regarding refugee status, the right to asylum ceases when the foreign national or stateless person:[4]

  1. Decides to voluntarily accept protection of the country of his/her nationality;[5]
  2. Voluntarily reacquires his/her nationality after having lost it;[6]
  3. Acquires a new nationality and enjoys the protection of the country of the newly acquired nationality;[7]
  4. Returns voluntarily to the country he/she left or outside which he/she had remained for fear of persecution;[8]
  5. Cannot continue to refuse the protection of the country of nationality or habitual residence, since the circumstances due to which he/she was recognised as a refugee no longer exist;[9] or
  6. Expressly renounces to the right to asylum.[10]

Regarding subsidiary protection, the right ceases when the circumstances resulting in said protection no longer exist or have changed to such an extent that the protection is no longer necessary.[11]

The ground relating to a change in circumstances justifying the cessation of refugee status or subsidiary protection can only be applied if SEF concludes that the change in circumstances in the country of origin or habitual residence is significant and durable to exclude a well-founded fear of persecution or a risk of serious harm.[12] Furthermore, this cessation ground is without prejudice to the principle of non-refoulement,[13] and is not applicable to refugees who are able to invoke imperative reasons related to prior persecution to refuse to avail themselves of the protection of the country of their nationality or habitual residence.[14] The latter safeguard is only explicitly provided in the Asylum Act for refugees, failing to transpose article 16(3) of the Qualification Directive.

SEF is required to notify the beneficiary of protection of the intended cessation in order to allow him/her to exercise the right to an adversarial hearing in writing within 8 days.[15] A decision on cessation is subject to a judicial appeal with suspensive effect.[16] In the absence of specific provisions, it should be understood that beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to apply for free legal aid at appeal stage under the same conditions as nationals as legal aid is an integral part of the social security system (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance).[17]

Finally, the cessation of international protection results in the applicability of the Immigration Act to former beneficiaries,[18] according to which an individual whose refugee status has ceased is entitled to a temporary residence permit without the need to present a residence visa,[19] even though other requirements such as a travel document, accommodation, and income. still apply.

According to statistics provided by SEF there were 14 cessations of the subsidiary protection status of Guineans in 2016, none in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, a total of 98 decisions cessations of subsidiary protection were adopted, of which 75 concerned Ukrainians. Cessation decisions were also adopted in the case of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection from Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Russia, Uzbekistan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Libya, Macedonia, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Georgia. No decision determining the cessation of refugee status was adopted during the year. 

In the framework of the legal assistance provided to some of those concerned in 2016, CPR identified several shortcomings in the cessation proceedings including the lack of renewal of the residence permits while the cessation process was pending and the poor quality of the assessment conducted into the change in circumstances in the country of nationality. Indeed, the assessments conducted did not take into consideration the specific/individual circumstances of each person concerned as the same information was used for all persons meaning that it lacked an actual assessment of whether there was a significant and durable change in circumstances for each individual. The same shortcomings were observed in 2019, in particular regarding Ukrainian subsidiary protection status holders.



[1]           Article 43(1) Asylum Act.

[2]           Article 43(3) Asylum Act.

[3]           Article 41 (1)-(4) Asylum Act.

[4]           Article 41(1) Asylum Act.

[5]           Article 41(1) (a) Asylum Act.

[6]           Article 41(1) (b) Asylum Act.

[7]           Article 41(1) (c) Asylum Act.

[8]           Article 41(1) (d) Asylum Act.

[9]           Article 41(1) (e) and (f) Asylum Act.

[10]          Article 41(1) (g) Asylum Act.

[11]          Article 41(2) Asylum Act.

[12]          Article 41(3) Asylum Act.

[13]          Article 47 Asylum Act.

[14]          Article 41(4) Asylum Act.

[15]          Article 41(6) Asylum Act.

[16]          Article 44 Asylum Act.

[17]          Article 72 Asylum Act.

[18]          Article 42(2) Asylum Act.

[19]          Article 122(1)(f) Immigration 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