Comparative overview of national protection statuses (EMN)

These studies explore the types of national protection statuses existing in Belgium and the EU, as well as their key characteristics in terms of procedures and rights.

Over the years, most EU Member States and Norway have developed one or more protection statuses at national level. These national statuses address protection needs that are not covered by the international protection statuses harmonised at EU level (refugee status and subsidiary protection).


National report

In Belgium, three types of national protection statuses fall within the scope of the study, these being "authorisations to stay" for humanitarian reasons (Art. 9bis), for medical reasons (Art. 9ter) and as durable solution for unaccompanied minors (Art. 61/14 to 61/25 Immigration Act). The national report explores the main features of the determination procedures and content of protection for each status, showing that:

  • applicants for authorisation to stay for humanitarian or medical reasons (and to a minor extent minors in the durable solution procedure), have less procedural safeguards compared to applicants for international protection;
  • similarly, persons authorised to stay on one of these grounds enjoy less favourable conditions than refugees and persons granted subsidiary protection;
  • since 2010, legislative changes were introduced in order to reduce the number of applications for authorisations to stay for humanitarian and medical reasons, while the protection of unaccompanied minors staying in Belgium was strenghtened;
  • in the past decade, there was a significant decrease in the number of applications for humanitarian and medical regularisation, while the little-known procedure for unaccompanied minors resulted in a low yet relatively stable number of authorisations to stay granted each year.


EU synthesis report

The EU synthesis report provides a comparative overview of national protection statuses in 24 EU Member States (including Belgium) and Norway, concluding that:

  • national protection statuses cater for a wide variety of protection needs and situations, ranging from serious medical conditions and non-refoulement principles, to environmental disasters and the best interest of the child;
  • the majority of these statuses are based on general humanitarian reasons, a concept usually not further defined in national legislation;
  • applications for these national protection statuses are examined either as part of a single procedure together with the asylum procedure, or in a separate procedure;
  • the determination procedures are generally characterised by a greater level of discretion compared to EU-harmonised statuses.


The short video below presents the main findings of the EU synthesis report.


Publication Date:
Tue 26 May 2020
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