This Inform presents an overview of Member States policies and practices concerning safe countries of origin.
Key points to note:
- 14 out of 24 Member States that provided information for this EMN Inform have a list of safe countries of origin. Additionally, Norway and Finland (to a certain extent) use the concept of safe country of origin, despite there being no fixed list of countries that would be considered safe in every situation.
- The top 6 countries which have been designated as safe countries of origin by the most Member States are Western Balkan countries.
- The number of countries designated as safe countries of origin differs significantly between Member States. Member States with the most countries on their national lists are the Netherlands (32), the United Kingdom (24) and Austria (20). However, it should be taken into account that some Member States have designated some EU28 countries, the EEA countries and Switzerland as safe, while others have chosen not to add these countries to the list.
- The majority of Member States regularly review the list to see if it is still up to date, but in general there is no clear fixed timespan on how often the list is updated.
- In most of the Member States, the criteria which are used for the assessment are stipulated in national legislation and they generally correspond to the criteria laid out in EU Asylum Procedures Directive. When assessing whether to designate a country as safe country of origin, most of the Member States take into account if other Member States have designated a country as safe.
- In most of the Member States with a national list, the accelerated procedure which is applied to nationals from safe countries of origin, is half the length of the standard procedure.
- Several Member States speed up their appeal procedure when a national of a safe country of origin is concerned. For example in a number of countries the appeal period is shorter, while in others the time limit for the court to decide on a case has been reduced. Additionally, in several Member States the appeal does not have a suspensive effect.
- With regard to reception conditions for asylum seekers, in most of the Member States the reception conditions are provided the same way for asylum seekers from safe countries as for the applicants from other countries.
- A number of Member States with a list of safe countries of origin have implemented specific rules or measures in the area of return. These measures include a shorter period for voluntary departure and/or a different policy for issuing entry bans for nationals of safe countries of origin.
- Many Member States offer less return and/or reintegration support to nationals of safe countries of origin than to nationals of other countries. Support is mostly reduced when a migrant comes from a safe country of origin and/or has visa-free access to the country he/she is supposed to leave.