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Some countries introduced measures to regularise the situation of specific groups of foreigners. The EMN published national studies and an overview study presenting different statuses of national protection in the EU and Norway.999 

According to the AIDA report for Cyprus, spouses of beneficiaries of international protection could still not receive a derivate beneficiary of international protection status. Authorities planned to provide them with humanitarian status, which offers only the right to stay in the country and does not grant any other rights.1000 

The Italian Legislative Decree No 130/2020 created a special two-year permit based on the principle of non-refoulement. Legislative Decree No 34/2020 promoted regularisation on the basis of transforming undeclared work to regular employment in certain labour sectors, and this process could be initiated by asylum applicants as well. Previously applicants had to withdraw the asylum application when they launched the regularisation process.1001 The measures were welcomed,1002 yet criticised at the same time for discriminating among workers in different sectors.1003 

Latvia, Lithuania and Poland enforced and facilitated policies to provide protection for applicants from Belarus. For example, Latvia granted a D-type/long-stay national visa for Belarusians which allowed them to access the territory of the country with the purpose of receiving medical support, requesting a residence permit or applying for international protection. In Poland, first humanitarian visas were issued to Belarusian citizens from 26 August 2020, and as of 17 September 2020, all Belarusian nationals possessing a tourist visa were allowed to enter on its territory. 

Spain continued to typically grant humanitarian status to applicants from Venezuela. However, UNHCR observed in Spain that national authorities applied rejection criteria when assessing whether a Venezuelan would qualify for this status, such as having police or criminal records or arriving from a third country. The Ministry of the Interior clarified that the humanitarian status is denied based on a police record only when the applicant has committed a serious crime and when the person is considered to be a threat to the community. While the decision to reject the humanitarian status only affects the person with the police record and not the rest of the family unit, UNHCR underlined the indirect negative effect this may have for children and other family members of the main applicant.

In France, a draft law was presented by an opposition party to the National Assembly, which would prohibit the regularisation of foreigners in irregular situations, such as former applicants. While taking a strict policy towards irregular situations, the proposal underlined that the right to asylum and dignified reception of applicants must be ensured.1004 

Rejected applicants for international protection in Malta have to fulfil modified criteria to become eligible for the Specific Residence Authorisation (SRA) policy.1005 In response, 25 civil society organisations issued a common statement warning that the 1-month time limit is too short to file the application, and previous beneficiaries risk reverting to an irregular situation.1006 

A provisional regularisation process was launched in Portugal, settling the situation of around 365,000 foreigners, including asylum applicants. This process was necessary to provide access to public services, including to the National Health Service.1007 

Among relevant court cases, CALL in Belgium annulled the decision to reject an applicant’s request for medical regularisation. The applicant was at the same time in the Dublin procedure and the doctor only considered the availability and accessibility of care in Italy, but not in Côte d’Ivoire, the applicant’s country of origin. However, CALL rejected the action for annulment in a case with a similar context, underlining that the applicant in that case was expected to be transferred to the Netherlands and not returned to Suriname, her country of origin.


[999] European Migration Network. (May 2020). Comparative overview of national protection statuses in the EU and Norway.
[1000] AIDA Cyprus. (2021). Country Report: Cyprus—2020 Update. Edited by ECRE. Written by Cyprus Refugee Council.
[1001] European Web Site on Integration. (2020, May 18). Italian government adopts targeted regularisation for migrant workers.
[1002] Centro Astalli per l’assistenza agli immigrati. (2021). Input to the EASO Asylum Report 2021. /sites/default/files/Centro-Astalli-assistenza-immigrati-ODV.pdf
[1003] European Web Site on Integration. (2020, May 18). Italian government adopts targeted regularisation for migrant workers.
[1004] Proposition de loi nº 2710 visant à interdire la régularisation des étrangers en situation irrégulière [Law proposal nº 2710 aiming to prohibit the regularisation of foreigners in irregular situation] (2020).
[1005] European Web Site on Integration. (2020, November 24). Malta: Significant changes to Specific Residence Authorisation policy.
[1006] aditus foundation. (2020, November 25). A new policy that will lead to increased social exclusion and poverty: NGO reaction to the revisions to the Specific Residence Authorisation Policy.
[1007] European Web Site on Integration. (2021, January 16). Portugal: More than 356 000 immigrants provisionally legalised during COVID-19 pandemic.