Under the International Protection Act 2015, an international protection officer is responsible for the examination of the relevant facts and circumstances that apply to each international protection application.
An international protection officer is obliged to examine each application for international protection for the purpose of deciding whether the applicant is given either (a) a refugee declaration, (b) a subsidiary protection declaration or (c) neither a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration. There is a distinction between the criteria that must be met to be recognised as a refugee or a person eligible for subsidiary protection.
To be recognised as a refugee, an applicant must be a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of (i) race, (ii) religion, (iii) nationality, (iv) political opinion or (v) membership of a particular social group, is outside his or her country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of his or her country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned above, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it and who is not excluded from eligibility for refugee status for certain reasons.
Subsidiary Protection is granted to a person who does not qualify as a refugee but where the international protection officer considers that the person faces a real risk of suffering serious harm in his or her country of origin. The precise definition is that a person eligible for subsidiary protection is a person (i) who is not a national of a Member State of the European Union, (ii) who does not qualify as a refugee, (iii) in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that he or she, if returned to his or her country of origin/country of former habitual residence, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm, and who is unable, or, owing to such risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; and (iv) who is not excluded from eligibility for subsidiary protection for certain reasons.
Serious harm means: (i) death penalty or execution, (ii) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of a person in his or her country of origin/country of former habitual residence, or (iii) serious and individual threat to a civilian's life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conflict.