Granting protection status
Two types of decisions give a right to asylum and residence in Belgium:
- recognition of the refugee status as defined in the Geneva Refugee Convention
- granting of subsidiary protection status: if the applicant does not fulfil the conditions for recognition as a refugee, but still risks serious harm if (s)he returns to his/her country of origin.
Refusal of a protection status
Several decisions of refusal are possible.
Refusal to grant refugee status and refusal to grant subsidiary protection status
The CGRS can refuse an application:
- if the statements lack credibility
- if the fear of persecution is unfounded
- if protection is available in the country of origin
- if an internal flight alternative is available in the country of origin
- if there is no risk of serious harm.
Decision declaring the application inadmissible
If an admissibility procedure applies, the CGRS can declare the application to be inadmissible.
Decision declaring the application manifestly unfounded
If an accelerated procedure applies, the CGRS can consider the application to be manifestly unfounded.
Decision to discontinue the examination of the application
The CGRS can decide to discontinue the examination of the application:
- if the applicant is absent at the personal interview and does not provide a valid reason for his absence within 15 days
- if the applicant does not answer to a request for information within a month after the request has been sent and fails to provide a valid reason for this
- if the applicant does not request the continuation of his application for international protection when he has obtained a residence permit of indefinite duration
- if the applicant formally renounces his application
- if the applicant returns to his country of origin
- if the applicant passes away during the asylum procedure
- if the applicant acquires Belgian citizenship.
Decisions of refusal under the border procedure
When an application is lodged at the border, a specific procedure applies in which the CGRS can take certain types of decision within a fixed time limit.
The CGRS excludes a foreign national from international protection status if there are serious grounds to consider that:
- (s)he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, as defined in international criminal law and international humanitarian law, or
- (s)he has committed acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
The CGRS takes a decision to exclude a foreign national from refugee status if there are serious grounds to consider that (s)he has committed a serious, non-political crime outside of Belgium before being admitted as a refugee in Belgium.
The CGRS takes a decision to exclude a foreign national from subsidiary protection status if there are serious grounds to consider that:
- (s)he has committed a serious crime or
- (she) is considered a threat to society or to national security.
The CGRS can also exclude a foreign national from the subsidiary protection status:
- if (s)he has committed in his/her country of origin a crime that does not fall within the existing exclusion grounds but would be punishable by imprisonment in Belgium and
- (s)he has left his/her country of origin in order to escape punishment for this crime.
In each case, the CGRS advises the Immigration Office on the removal.
Revocation and cessation
The CGRS decides to revoke a protection status if it has been obtained by fraud or if the beneficiary is or should have been excluded from it.
The CGRS can also revoke refugee status if:
- the refugee constitutes a danger to society because (s)he has been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime or
- there are reasonable grounds for regarding the refugee as a danger to national security.
The CGRS can also revoke subsidiary protection status if:
- the beneficiary has committed a crime in his country of origin that does not fall within the existing exclusion clauses but would be punishable by imprisonment in Belgium and
- the beneficiary has left his country of origin to avoid sanctions resulting from those crimes.
When the case arises, the CGRS also gives advice on a removal, except:
- if fraud has been committed during the asylum procedure
- if the behaviour of the person to whom a protection status has been granted shows afterwards that his alleged fear never existed.
Cessation of the refugee status
The CGRS can end a decision by which refugee status was granted if the refugee:
- has voluntarily re-availed him/herself of the protection of his/her country of nationality
- has voluntarily re-acquired his/her nationality after losing it
- has acquired a new nationality
- has voluntarily re-established him/herself in the country where (s)he feared persecution
- if the circumstances in connection with which the person has been recognized as a refugee have ceased to exist (for example in case of important and permanent changes in the country of origin).
The CGRS can end a previous decision by which subsidiary protection status was granted if the situation in the country of origin of the beneficiary of subsidiary protection has changed significantly and permanently.