The Relocation Program of the European Union concerns the transfer of persons who require international protection (asylum and subsidiary protection) from one member state of the European Union to another. It is a European mechanism for tackling the refugee crisis, aiming to ensure a fairer distribution of asylum seekers in the member states of the European Union.
Citizens of countries (and in the case of stateless persons the countries of their former habitual residence) for which the rate of granting international protection is over 75%, based on the European average recognition rates derived from the quarterly data published by Eurostat, can access this program. Consequently, it is very likely that citizens from these countries require international protection. At the moment, the Relocation Program mainly concerns Syrians, Eritreans, nationals of Yemen and stateless persons whose former habitual residence were these countries. The relocation program creates an arbitrary discrimination among the asylum seekers, as it is only accessible for the nationals of ten countries.
In 2015, the member states agreed to relocate 160.000 people under this scheme. Since then, this figure has been readjusted, being finally placed in the number of 98. 255. Even calculating with this discount, less than 17% of the people have currently been transferred, though not to countries of their choice, but to the ones they have been assigned. Despite certain criteria had been established to be considered when relocating the refugees, such as the family links, having a jobland offer, the cultural ties, or language skills, they haven’t been taken into consideration.
The deadline is coming closer, September 30th, 2017. Experts related with this process are not positive about the European governments fulfilling their commitment. The European Commission has warned the involved member states that the obligation of covering the quotas they committed to will remain after the deadline, and that those who haven’t met the agreement on time will face economic sanctions. Besides this, as the acceptance of each person is up to the country, more and more applications are rejected without justified grounds, vaguely mentioning public order or national security reasons.
The Resettlement Framework of the European Union and the adhered European countries consists on the movement of refugees from a country outside of the EU where they seeked for protection, to an EU Member State, which takes them in as refugees with the permanent legal residency status.
The status and rights given to resettled refugees vary depending on the country. Resettled refugees arriving in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK receive a permanent residence permit. Refugees resettled to Denmark, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Spain receive a temporary residence permit, and are able to apply for permanent residency after a specified period of legal residency and the compliance with some conditions related with the language, civic knowledge, financial independence, and good conduct (conditions vary depending on the country). All European countries offer a pathway for citizenship.
Full refugee status or subsidiary protection is granted to refugees in most European resettlement countries. Refugees resettled to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway (selection mission cases), Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK receive refugee status immediately. Refugees resettled to Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Norway (dossier cases) and Romania must complete an asylum procedure after arrival into the country. Refugees resettled to Germany, however, do not receive refugee status, and instead receive humanitarian status which does not provide the same legal benefits available for refugees.
In 2015, the EU agreed on the resettlement of 22.504 refugees and 69% of them have already been resettled. Hosting refugees through this scheme avoids that people risk their lives to get to Europe. More than fifteen thousands people have already died in their trip to reach the southern coasts.
FAMILY REUNIFICATION PROGRAM
The European Union Family Reunification Program enables the family members of those who have an outside EU nationality and are already residing legally in a Member state, to join them in the EU country of residence.
The goal of this scheme is to protect the family unit and to facilitate the integration of the third- country nationals. The international Human Rights rules state that the family must be protected and reunited in any possible case and that the best interest of the child must always prevail.
In practice, the interpretation of the family is excessively restrictive, consequently dismantling extended family groups. This leads to the structural suppression of emotional and logistical support, as it deletes the possibility to share the care of dependant family members, for instance. The EU countries could authorise, under certain conditions, the family reunification of first grade ascendants (father and mother of the foreign national), of the adult single daughters and sons, and of the not married cohabitants, but this barely happens.
Although each case varies, the process of family reunification is taking between eight months and a year and a half on average, and it can be delayed sine die if a first request is rejected due to the difficult pathway to appeal the decision .