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EU-wide: Integration prospects and policies are key for success of new EU relocation scheme

On 22 September, the Council adopted Decision (EU) 2015/1601 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. The provisional measure is a temporary relocation mechanism for nationals of countries with high asylum recognition rates, in order to support Italy and Greece to better cope with these sudden inflows. The Decision states that the integration of applicants in clear need of international protection into the host society is the cornerstone of a properly functioning Common European Asylum System.

Integration prospects are key criteria for the relocation process of matching applicants and Member States. The procedure and decision should take account of an applicant’s qualifications and characteristics, such as language skills, and other individual indications based on demonstrated family, cultural or social ties which could facilitate their integration. For vulnerable applicants, the decision should consider Member States’ capacity to provide adequate support. Member States themselves can indicate their own preferences for applicants based on this information, respecting the principles of non-discrimination. Lists of possible applicants for relocation can also be compiled by Italy and Greece, in consultation with EASO, and, where applicable, Member States’ liaison officers.

Reception conditions in Italy and Greece will be key for applicants to access relocation. Before and after relocation, applicants enjoy all the rights and guarantees provided by the Common European Asylum System’s standards. Reception and integration conditions in the EU Member State of relocations will be key for a functioning system and avoiding irregular secondary movement to other EU Member States. Under a limited, temporary derogation to the AMIF Regulation, the Member State of relocation will receive a 6,000 euro lump sum for each relocated person, which is identical to the AMIF lump sum provided for resettled refugees. Member States are encouraged to take extra measures to avoid secondary movement before the 5 years required for EU long-term residence. Preventive measures should include access to social benefits and legal remedies, information on their rights and obligations, more harmonised reception conditions (preferably in kind and without travel documents or financial incentives during the asylum procedure) and immediate return in case of secondary movement (voluntary or forced, with possible national entry bans).