The positive decision

Two types of decision give a right to asylum and residence in Belgium:

  • recognition of refugee status as defined by the Geneva Refugee Convention
  • granting of subsidiary protection status: if the applicant does not fulfil the conditions for recognition as a refugee, but is likely to suffer serious harm in case of a return to his country of origin.

The negative decision

Several types of negative decisions are possible.

Refusal to consider the asylum application

EU nationals: the applicant’s statements clearly show that he has no well-founded fear of persecution and that there are no substantial grounds for believing that he runs a real risk of serious harm.

Safe country of origin: the applicant’s statements clearly show that he has no well-founded fear of persecution and that there are no substantial grounds for believing that he runs a real risk of serious harm.

Subsequent application: there are no new elements that improve the chances of being granted a protection status.

Refugee recognised in another EU member state: when the asylum applicant has obtained refugee status in an EU member state, unless there is evidence showing that he can no longer rely on this protection.

Refusal to grant refugee status and refusal to grant subsidiary protection status
  • in case declarations are not credible
  • if the grounds are ‘unfounded’ and if the asylum seeker does not run a real risk of suffering serious harm
  • in case of an internal flight alternative in the country of origin
  • in case of a real protection possibility in the first country of asylum
  • in case of an indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.

The commissioner general can refuse refugee status if:

  • the asylum seeker is considered a threat to society because he has been definitively convicted for a particularly serious crime or
  • there are reasonable grounds to consider that the asylum seeker represents a threat to national security.

For specific decisions, the commissioner general gives an opinion to the Immigration Office on a possible removal.

Other decisions

The Commissioner General may take a decision of refusal:

  • the asylum application is declared ‘without purpose’ when the applicant withdraws the application voluntarily, returns to his country of origin, is regularised, or dies during the procedure
  • a ‘technical refusal’ if the applicant does not show up for the interview and does not give a valid reason for his absence within 15 days; if the applicant does not comply with a request for information by the CGRS without a valid reason.

Exclusion, cessation, withdrawal

Exclusion

The Commissioner General will decide to exclude the asylum seeker from the protection status if there are serious grounds to consider that

  • 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
  • he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The Commissioner General will decide to exclude the applicant from refugee status if there are serious grounds to consider that he has committed a serious non-political crime outside Belgium prior to his admission as a refugee.

The Commissioner General equally excludes from the subsidiary protection status an  applicant  who

  • has committed a serious crime or
  • is considered a threat to society or to national security.

Furthermore, the Commissioner General can exclude the  applicant from the subsidiary protection status

  • if he has committed a crime in his country of origin that does not fall within the existing exclusion grounds but would be punishable in Belgium by imprisonment and
  • he must have fled his country of origin to escape punishment for his crime.

Each time, the Commissioner General also gives an opinion to the Immigration Office on a possible removal.

Revocation

The Commissioner General decides to revoke the protection status  when this status has been obtained by fraud or if the beneficiary should have been excluded from the protection status.

The Commissioner General can also revoke the refugee status  

  • when the refugee is considered a threat to society because he has been definitively convicted for a particularly serious crime or
  • there are reasonable grounds to consider that the refugee represents a threat to national security.

Furthermore, the Commissioner General can revoke the status of subsidiary protection when

  • the person has committed a crime in his country of origin that does not fall within the existing exclusion clauses but would be punishable in Belgium by imprisonment and
  • he has fled his country of origin to escape punishment for his crime.

The Commissioner General gives an opinion on a possible removal except

  • in case of fraud committed during the asylum procedure
  • if the person who received a protection status, proves afterward through his behaviour that his alleged fear never existed.
Cessation of the refugee status

The Commissioner General can end a previous decision to grant protection

  • if the situation in the country of origin of the refugee or the person who has been granted protection, has changed significantly and on a non-temporary basis and
  • the international protection is no longer needed.