Statelessness in the EU (excerpts), 2016

1 Introduction

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This EMN Inform is the synthesis of the answers provided by Member States and Norway to an ad-hoc query launched by the LU EMN NCP on 12th March 2015 1 and two joint ad-hoc queries launched by the LU EMN NCP and COM on 4th May 2016. 2

1 This ad-hoc query was answered by 23 countries: AT, BE, CZ, EE, FI, FR, DE, HR, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, NL, PL, SK, SI, ES, SE, UK and NO.

2 The first ad-hoc query was an update to the ad-hoc query launched in 2015. It received replies from 25 MS: AT, BE, BG, HR, CY, CZ, EE, FI, FR, DE, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, NL, PL, PT, SK, SI, ES, SE, UK, NO. The second ad-hoc query was entitled ‘On statelessness: minors born in exile and unaccompanied minors’. It received replies from 21 MS: AT, BE, HR, CZ, EE, FI, FR, DE, HU, IT, LV, LT, LU, NL, PL, PT, SK, SI, SE, UK and NO.

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2 Background

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Statelessness is a phenomenon which is present in the European Union. In 2015, UNHCR estimated the total number of stateless persons in Europe at 592,151 individuals. 4 Globally, UNHCR estimates that a baby is born stateless every 10 minutes.5

4 UNHCR, Global Trends; Forced Displacement in 2015, Annex Table 1; available at http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/unhcrstats/576408cd7/unhcr-global-trends-2015.html

3 Key findings

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There is no specific determination procedure for stateless unaccompanied
minors that would take account of the specific vulnerability of this group. Most MS that have a determination procedure for adults apply it to unaccompanied minors without adapting it in any way. Nevertheless, in most cases a guardian is appointed to accompany the minor and in those MS with a dedicated statelessness determination procedure, legal aid is provided (except in LV and UK). However, the burden of proof during the determination procedure remains with the minor, as in the case of adult applicants.

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4 The State of Play of the 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness

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4.1 ACCESSION TO THE 1954 CONVENTION

At present, 24 MS are State Parties to the 1954 Convention (AT, BE, BG, HR, CZ, DK, FI, FR, DE, GR, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, NL, PT, RO, SK, SI, ES, SE and UK). CY, EE, MT and PL have not yet acceded to it.7

7 https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetailsII.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=V3&chapter=5&Temp=mtdsg2&clang=_en

4.2 ACCESSION TO THE 1961 CONVENTION

Only 19 MS have acceded to the 1961 Convention (AT, BE, BG, HR, CZ, DK, FI, DE, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, NL, PT, RO, SK, SE and UK). FR signed this Convention but has not yet ratified it. Eight MS (EL, EE, CY, LU, MT, PL, SI and ES) have not yet acceded to it. 8

8 https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=V-4&chapter=5&clang=_en

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5 Statelessness Determination Procedures 15

15 This information is collected from the 23 answers rendered by Member States to the ad-hoc query launched on 12 March 2015.

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Seven MS (FR 16, HU, IT, LV, LU, ES and UK) have a dedicated determination procedure.

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5.1 SPECIFIC STATELESSNESS DETERMINATION PROCEDURES

The specific administrative or judicial determination procedures that have been developed in FR, HU, IT, LV, LU, ES and UK vary significantly.

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In Latvia, the applicant must file a written application and submit his/her personal identification document, birth certificate, certificate issued by a foreign competent authority that the person is not a citizen of the relevant State or a document proving that s/he cannot obtain this document and any other relevant document. After filing the application, the applicant is allowed to stay in the country. The burden of proof lies with the applicant, but in practice it is shared with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. The procedure is free of charge. The procedure is available to
all stateless persons, not only to those who are legally resident in the country.

In case the person has been detained because s/he is an irregular migrant without valid travel documents, the State Border Guard may assist by contacting foreign embassies to retrieve the necessary documents.

A decision on granting or refusal to grant the status of a stateless person is made within three months of lodging the application. This time period may be extended up to one year.

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6 Determination of Statelessness and the Residence Permit

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The only Member States that automatically grant a residence permit once the statelessness status is granted are: France (family and private reasons), Hungary (humanitarian residence permit), Italy, Latvia (temporary
residence permit), [..]

6.1 THE DURATION OF VALIDITY OF THE RESIDENCE PERMIT GRANTED TO STATELESS PERSONS

The duration of validity of the residence permit granted to a stateless person varies between Member States and depends on the kind of residence permit that will be granted. Among the MS which grant a specific residence permit to stateless persons following the determination of their statelessness, the duration varies from 1 year to a residence permit that can be renewed for an unlimited number of years (1 year in FR, 2 years in IT, 2.5 years in the UK, 3 years in HU, 5 years in LV and unlimited in BE).

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7 Travel Documents

There are two types of travel documents granted to stateless persons by Member States:

 Alien passport: AT, CZ (inside of the document the 1954 Convention is mentioned), EE, FI, NL, SI, and SE (except if the person obtains refugee status).

 A 1954 Convention travel document for stateless persons: BE, DE, FR 30, HU, IT, LV, LT, LU, SK 31, ES, UK and HR.

8 Rights Granted to Recognized Stateless Persons

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8.1 ACCESS TO THE LABOUR MARKET

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In Latvia stateless persons have access to the labour market if they have obtained a residence permit.

8.2 ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND TRAINING

In most MS recognised stateless persons have access to education and training. Access to education and training is mainly guaranteed under the same conditions as those which apply to TCNs staying legally in the MS and/or depending on the type of residence permit they obtain (AT 34, EE, FI, FR, DE, LT, LV, LU, NL, SI and SE).

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Latvia allows access if the person holds a residence permit and travel
document.

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In Slovak Republic, Luxembourg and Latvia minors are subject to compulsory education. There is no national scheme for adult education
for stateless persons.35

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8.3 ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL AID

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In Latvia, access to social security system services is determined by the type of the residence permit obtained by the stateless person and his/ her employment status. Medical assistance shall be provided against payment
from insurance companies, employers or directly by the patients.

8.4 ACCESS TO CITIZENSHIP

Access to citizenship is simplified for stateless persons in 13 Member States (BE, HR, CZ, EE, DE, HU, IT, LT, NL, SK, SI, SE, UK).

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Eight Member States (AT, CY, FI, FR, LV, LU, PL and ES) do not foresee simplified access to nationality for stateless persons.

A significant number of Member States (including AT, HR, CY, FI, FR, LT, LU, LV, MT, PT, RO and ES) require that stateless persons meet the same general conditions as other persons applying for citizenship.

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9 The situation of stateless minors

9.1 CHILDREN BORN STATELESS IN THE MEMBER STATES

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In Latvia, a permanent place of residence is required from both the child and his or her parents. In case of a new born child there is no requirement for lawful residence in Latvia. The new born child can be registered as citizen of Latvia simultaneously with registration of the fact of birth (based on the request of one parent). The child shall have lawful residence in Latvia if she/he was registered as a stateless person and afterwards claimed a citizenship. If the child was registered as stateless (parents did not claim citizenship when the birth of the child was registered) and they claim citizenship after the birth was registered, there is a requirement that the parent, who claims citizenship for the child, has been resident for at least five years. If one of the parents requires citizenship simultaneously with registration of the fact of birth, there is a requirement for residence in the country for this parent (not for 5 years).

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9.2 CHILDREN BORN IN EXILE

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Latvia can register the birth of a child who is born outside of Latvia, if a medical certificated issued by a medical institution or a physician is
drafted and the birth of the child is not registered in the country of birth.

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9.3 DETERMINATION PROCEDURE OF CHILDREN BORN IN EXILE OR STATELESS CHILDREN ARRIVING IN THE TERRITORY OF MEMBER STATES

In all MS there is no specific statelessness determination procedure adapted for these minors.

BE, CZ, FI, FR, HU, IT, LV, LT, LU, SI, SE and UK 45 use the same determination procedure as for adults. [..]

9.4 LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR CHILDREN

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In FI, IT 46, LV, LT, LU, SI, SE and NO a representative (guardian or ad-hoc
administrator is appointed) when an UAM enters the country, not only for the determination procedure. Also legal representation is provided.

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In Latvia, legal aid can only be obtained at the applicants’ own expense or through a NGO. Nevertheless, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs works in close cooperation with the person and provides all the necessary information and helps the person to get the necessary information and documents.

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Document data: 11.11.2016 Link: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/docs/emn-informs/emn-informs-00_inform_statelessness_final.pdf

Publisher’s notes: there is some discrepancy in the document. Part 2 speaks of 592,151 stateless people in Europe, which indicates that “non-citizens of Latvia” are counted. Part 7 speaks about only a 1954 Convention travel document for stateless persons in Latvia, which indicates that they are not counted (they have a particular “alien passport”).

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