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Reception conditions

Asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their application must be provided with certain necessities that guarantee them a dignified standard of living.

What is the Reception Conditions Directive?

The Reception Conditions Directive establishes common standards of conditions of living of asylum applicants. (The previous version of the Directive is still valid until 21 July 2015 when the new one becomes applicable). It ensures that applicants have access to housing, food, health care and employment, as well as medical and psychological care.

In the past, diverging practices among Member States could however lead to an inadequate level of material reception conditions for asylum seekers.

Key achievements

The new Reception Conditions Directive aims to ensure better as well as more harmonised standards of reception conditions throughout the Union.

  • For the first time, detailed common rules have been adopted on the issue of detention of asylum seekers, ensuring that their fundamental rights are fully respected. In particular, it:
    • Includes an exhaustive list of detention grounds that will help to avoid arbitrary detention practices and limits detention to as short a period of time as possible;
    • Restricts the detention of vulnerable persons in particular minors;
    • Includes important legal guarantees such as access to free legal assistance and information in writing when lodging an appeal against a detention order;
    • Introduces specific reception conditions for detention facilities, such as access to fresh air and communication with lawyers, NGOs and family members.
  • The new Directive also clarifies the obligation to conduct an individual assessment in order to identify the special reception needs of vulnerable persons. It provides particular attention to unaccompanied minors and victims of torture and ensures that vulnerable asylum seekers can also access psychological support. Finally, it includes rules on the qualifications of the representatives for unaccompanied minors.

Access to employment for an asylum seeker must now be granted within a maximum period of 9 months.

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Glossary

Subsidiary protection

The protection given to a non-EU national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee, but in respect ...

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Reception conditions

The full set of measures that EU States grant to asylum seekers in accordance with Directive 2003/9/EC.

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Protection

A concept that encompasses all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in ...

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Minor

A person who, according to the law of his/her respective country, is under the age of majority, i.e. is not yet entitled ...

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Material reception conditions

Reception conditions that include housing, food and clothing, provided in kind or as financial allowances or in ...

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International protection

The actions by the international community on the basis of international law, aimed at protecting the fundamental ...

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Geneva Convention & Protocol

The United Nations Convention of 28 July 1951 relating to the status of refugees, as amended by the New York ...

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Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

The establishment of a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those who are granted asylum or ...

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Child

Every human being below the age of eighteen years, unless majority is attained earlier under the law applicable...

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Asylum seeker

A non-EU national or a stateless person who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision ...

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Asylum applicant

A non-EU national or a stateless person who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken.

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Asylum

A form of protection given by a State, on its territory, based on the principle of non-refoulement and internationally ...

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