The Revised Refugee Recognition SystemThe Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act was revised in the national Diet in 2004, and with the goal to provide appropriate and expedited protection to refugees through more equitable procedures, the following points in the system of refugee recognition were reviewed and the revised provisions took effect on May 16, 2005.
1. Establishment of a system for granting permission for provisional stay
This is a system for illegal foreign residents who have filed applications for recognition of refugee status. Individuals meeting several requirements will be granted permission for provisional stay by the Immigration Bureau. The period of the provisional stay is three months, and those who wish for an extension of the provisional stay must apply at the Immigration Bureau. Deportation procedures are suspended during this time, and refugee recognition procedures are carried out. Since this system is available to illegal foreign residents, such individuals cannot work even if they are granted permission for provisional stay.
2. Stabilization of the legal status of illegal foreign residents who have been recognized as refugees
With regard to illegal foreign residents who have filed an application for recognition of refugee status, a judgment will be made simultaneously on whether they will be recognized as refugees and on whether they will be granted permission to stay in Japan. If illegal foreign residents recognized as refugees satisfy certain requirements, they will uniformly be granted permission for provisional stay, and even if they do not satisfy the requirements, they may be granted special permission for stay at the discretion of the Minister of Justice.
3. Review of the appeal system
For the purpose of increasing equity and neutrality in the procedures for refugee recognition, a system of refugee examination counselors was established, in which the counselors participate in the procedures for the examination of appeals as a third party. When an applicant for refugee recognition is denied refugee status, and files an objection to the decision, the Minister of Justice will make a decision on objections concerning the denial of recognition of refugee status after hearing the opinions of the refugee examination counselors. Refugee examination counselors will be able to take an active role in the procedures for examination of appeals by observing the procedures in which the petitioner or intervener presents his or her opinions, hearing their opinions directly and asking them questions. A pamphlet on the new system of refugee recognition is available in various languages through the Immigration Bureau’s website.
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