By Csilla Korompay
A legislative package with measures to modernise certain procedures and further strengthen citizens’ security was presented to the Hungarian parliament on Wednesday. Among other things, the proposal provides for a tightening of certain migration issues.
The draft law on the entry and residence of third-country nationals is amended so that the expulsion of a third-country national who is already in possession of a residence permit is possible not only in the event of a “violation” of national security, public security or public order, but also in the event of a “threat”. According to the explanatory memorandum, the new wording, which puts national interests at the forefront, allows for much broader application without violating the EU legal framework.
The Asylum Act is also amended so that a foreigner who is reasonably deemed to have committed an offence in his country of origin punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or more in Hungary and who is presemented to have left his country of origin in order to avoid punishment for his offence, is not recognised as a person entitled to protection. This allows lawyers to distinguish between asylum seekers who are genuinely entitled to subsidiary protection and those seeking subsidiary protection only to prevent or avoid prosecution in their country of origin. Such “abusive behaviour by asylum seekers” places an unnecessary burden on the national asylum system. However, exclusion from recognition as a beneficiary of protection does not necessarily mean that the applicant is completely deprived of protection, since he or she would be threatened with persecution in his country of origin on racial or religious grounds, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion and there is no safe third country to accept him, he would be granted the status of a person who may not be returned.
A further amendment to the Asylum Act requires the personal presence of the applicant in the asylum procedure. The draft states: “The applicant’s personal interview is mandatory in court proceedings when the applicant is in asylum custody. The court rejects the application if the applicant cannot be summoned from his home or if he has gone to an unknown location. (…) The proceedings shall also be terminated if the applicant is otherwise represented by a legal representative.’
The explanatory memorandum states that the personal presence of the asylum seeker in the asylum procedure is essential. The applicant for international protection may be expected to personally participate in the various procedural steps, cooperate with the authority processing his application and cooperate in the examination of his or her application for redress in the administrative procedure. If an asylum seeker leaves the accommodation assigned to him without permission for more than 48 hours with an unknown destination, he violates his legal obligations, which cannot be remedied by the actions of his authorised representative. In practice, Hungary cannot offer effective protection to asylum seekers who are in an unknown location or who do not cooperate, argued Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, who presented the package of proposals.
This article was first published by MAGYAR HÍRLAP, our partner in EUROPEAN MEDIA COOPERATION