Saturday, June 15, 2024 Residence permits and travel documents

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With EU+ countries prioritising the issuance of permits to beneficiaries of temporary protection, delays were reported in the issuance of residence permits for beneficiaries of international protection.

In Belgium, where the country’s reception system was under pressure in 2022, it was reported that some applicants received international protection without having access to the reception system, thus being largely homeless. Without an address, it was difficult to obtain a residence permit (A-card) at the local commune when receiving a positive decision. Without this permit, the status holder can encounter difficulties in obtaining financial aid, opening a bank account and renting a place to live.

In Finland, the delivery of residence permits, aliens’ passports and refugee travel documents was temporarily delayed due to a shortage of staff and a backlog in the processing of aliens’ passports and refugee travel documents.

In France, it was reported that beneficiaries of international protection encountered difficulties in obtaining their residence permits due to the implementation of a digital system which presented several shortcomings and issues with accessing prefectures for the issuance of residence permits.
 In June 2022, the Council of State ordered the Ministry of the Interior to establish a solution as an alternative to the solely digitalised procedure.

Refugee Support Aegean continued to observe important delays in the delivery of residence permits for beneficiaries of international protection in Greece,
 especially those re-admitted from other EU+ countries.
 This document is a pre-requisite to access many other rights and services, including health care and employment.

In January 2022, a new Immigration Service appointment scheduling system, which would streamline and further improve the registration process, was announced in Ireland. The interim ISD Registration Office Burgh Quay created a free phone number to call, so that applicants resident in Dublin could book a first-time registration appointment. As of January 2023, the revised appointment and scheduling system was fully operational, however, applicants continued to experience significant delays in obtaining appointments.

The Irish government also suspended the Council of Europe’s Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees for 12 months, in an effort to protect the integrity of the Irish asylum and reception systems. The decision came after an increase in the number of applicants who had already been granted international protection in another EU Member State.

Aditus foundation in Malta carried out research on obstacles to receive relevant documentation for several target groups, including family members of beneficiaries of international protection. The organisation made several recommendations to speed up the delivery of residence cards.
 The International Protection Agency added that protection cards for beneficiaries of international protection were delivered promptly, on the same day as the decision.

The Italian Council of State clarified that beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and humanitarian (special) protection must be granted travel documents from the Italian authorities, without having to prove that they cannot obtain a passport from their country of origin. The council noted that frequently the national authority in the country of origin prevents a beneficiary from acquiring a passport. In addition, a circular simplified the procedure for a refugee to marry in Italy: documentation from the country of origin is no longer needed and a sworn statement is sufficient.

In Germany, higher administrative courts found it unreasonable to expect that a passport be obtained from the embassy of the country of origin, for example, for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection from Eritrea and Syria who refused to do their military service.

The EctHR condemned Lithuania for not issuing a travel document to a former beneficiary of subsidiary protection with long-term residence. The national authorities found that the person did not justify why he had been unable to obtain a valid passport from his country of origin. However, the court concluded that the authorities rejected the request for a travel document on formalistic grounds, without examining the particular circumstances of the person.

For acquiring long-term residence in Sweden, the government appointed an inquiry commission to assess making language knowledge and knowledge of the Swedish society requirements for permanent residence.

In Denmark, amendments were adopted to the criteria to acquire permanent residence. The person should not be convicted of ‘negative social control’ (for example, sending a child abroad for religious re-education) and could be barred from being granted a permanent residence permit for a minimum of 6 years depending on the type and length of the sentence. Similar changes were introduced as criteria for family reunification (see Section

The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice reviewed a decision to refuse long-term residence for a beneficiary of international protection, based on a classified note from the Romanian Intelligence Service. The court found that the reasoning of the decision was insufficient, as the decision should include all reasons and elements of evidence that form its basis.

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