What can I do as a frontline refugee practitioner?
The 4 Rs: Recognise, Record, Refer, and Read up!
- Recognise statelessness and its impact
Do not assume either that everyone has a nationality, that everyone who is stateless knows they are stateless, or that statelessness will have been identified in the refugee screening or status determination process. Consider whether stateless people face heightened barriers to naturalisation, and if needed, explore further.
- Do stateless people face barriers to naturalise, for example if they lack certain documents, such as birth certificates and passports?
- Are stateless people unable to afford the cost of naturalisation, and is this linked to past restrictions on their rights and opportunities?
- Can any requirements be relaxed / waived?
- Record lack of proof of nationality and indications of statelessness
If you identify that a person may be stateless, record this important information on any paperwork relating to this person. If a form does not have fields allowing you to accurately record this information, make a note somewhere on the form about it, so that there is a record, and inform the person of this and that it may be important in future. Also keep copies of any relevant documents in your file so that they can be accessed later if needed.
Most European countries have international obligations that require them to facilitate the naturalisation of stateless people, although in practice stateless people often face significant barriers in acquiring a nationality.
- Refer to expert advice, support, and information
If you identify possible statelessness of a person who wants to naturalise, refer the person to organisations that specialise in statelessness and nationality in your country of work to see if they can help. Some of our members may be able to assist. Download and use our guide/poster for refugee response actors and our short guide for refugees and asylum seekers.
- Read up about statelessness, naturalisation and integration. There’s some more information below, and more on our websites (links below).