Implementation of subsidiary protection, cf. Art. 37, para 2, regarding applicants for international protection from Venezuela.
The Directorate of Immigration (UTL) hereby announces a changed administrative practice for assessing the needs of Venezuelan citizens for subsidiary protection. The change entails an individual assessment being made on applications for international protection by citizens of Venezuela and results in them no longer unconditionally being granted subsidiary protection on grounds of general circumstances in the home country.
Effective as of 1 January 2022, the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) will enforce a changed practice in conformity with Art. 37, para 2, of the Foreign Nationals Act. The change entails an individual assessment being made on every application by individuals with Venezuelan nationality with reference to the provisions on subsidiary protection. The Directorate’s procedures regarding assessment as per Art. 37, para 1, and Art. 74, of the Foreign Nationals Act will remain unchanged.
In recent months Venezuelan applicants for international protection have been granted subsidiary protection, cf. Art. 37, para 2, of the Foreign Nationals Act, on grounds of the general situation in the home country irrespective of the individual circumstances.
Authorization for changes in administrative practice
Changing the administrative practice in a certain field is permissible provided certain conditions are met. This is determined on grounds of applicable authorizations by law as well as the principle of equality deriving in such a change taking place in a specific manner. Referring to the applicable legal authorizations, it is deemed that the changes that will be made to the Directorate’s procedures coincide well with them and in various respects better than the earlier procedures.
Deriving from the principle of equality is that the changes must be based on substantive views; that they must be general; take into account legitimate public expectations and the prohibition of the retroactivity of the rules of law; and be introduced in advance.
Reasoning for changes in implementation
Most applicants for international protection from Venezuela apply on the grounds of economic reasons and insecurity in the home country. Furthermore, the Directorate has received information about Venezuelan citizens who have already received protection, however, have chosen to return to their home country for longer or shorter periods of time, and thereby utilizing the protection of the home country. This can result in the revocation of the refugee status since protection is granted on the presumption that it is unsafe for a refugee to return home. Going back would imply that the refugee is not in need of international protection.
Referring to the aforementioned, the Directorate of Immigration, does not consider it justifiable to implement the provisions of Art. 37, para 2, of the Foreign Nationals Act in such a manner that all applicants from Venezuela unconditionally fall within the framework of subsidiary protection, without an individual assessment being made on how the general circumstances apply to the applicant in question in every instance.
The changes are to apply equally to all cases of applicants from Venezuela that might fall under the auspices of the aforementioned rules of law. The practice will be adopted gradually in conformity with the guidelines that applicants have received earlier in the application process and thereby prevent the retroactive implementation of the changed administrative practice.
These changes correspond with the administrative practice in Iceland’s neighboring states.
These changes take effect on January 1st 2022.