Based on the Government’s motion, Parliament passed statutory amendments which serve to tighten the legal border closure.

Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér’s motion was passed by Members of Parliament with 138 yes votes from the government parties and Jobbik, 6 votes against the motion cast by LMP and independent Members of Parliament, and 22 – mostly MSZP – abstentions.

With its decision, Parliament supplemented the asylum legislation with procedural rules relating to the state of crisis caused by mass immigration.

During a period such as the present, asylum requests can, in default, only be submitted before the asylum authority in person, solely in the transit zone by the border, and asylum-seekers are required to await the assessment of their applications on a final and absolute basis in the transit zone. During the state of crisis, asylum-seekers may only leave this place in the outward direction; in the case of the existing transit zones, towards Serbia.

Procedures will be accelerated by virtue of the fact that a review request may only be submitted to the asylum authority against the refusal of an asylum application within three days of the communication of the decision, and the asylum authority will likewise only have three days to forward it to the competent court.

The asylum authority may terminate the proceedings on the basis of the available data if the asylum-seeker withdraws his or her application, refuses to make a statement, prevents the recording of his or her fingerprints or photographic image, or leaves the transit zone. No appeal lies against the decision terminating the proceedings.

The legislative amendment further stipulates that the proceeding court conducts the personal hearing in the transit zone or via the telecommunications network.

The legislation lays down: the asylum-seeker must leave the transit zone after the communication of the decision which can no longer be appealed against.

If the applicant submits an asylum request after a final and absolute decision, this will qualify as a new application; however, the foreign will not be entitled to care services during the course of the new proceedings.

These amendments will also apply to the assessment of pending applications, with the proviso that, in these instances, persons seeking recognition as refugees may leave the transit zone before the adoption of the final and absolute decision.

The scenarios in which a state of crisis due to mass immigration may be instated have also been extended. For instance, a decision may be adopted on the introduction of a state of crisis due to mass immigration in every instance when a circumstance develops in the context of migration which directly threatens the protection of the Schengen section of the Hungarian border.

Both the asylum law and the legislation on the state borders stipulate: in a state of crisis caused by mass immigration, the police detain any foreigners staying in the territory of the country illegally in the entire territory of Hungary – not only within a zone of 8 kilometres from the border – and transport or accompany them back to the gate of the border fence if the suspicion of the commission of a crime emerges.

In a state of crisis caused by mass immigration, asylum-seekers staying in the transit zone are permitted to enter Hungary if the asylum authority adopts a decision on the granting of international protection, or if the conditions for conducting the asylum procedure under the general rules exist, the Act on the State Borders lays down.

The legislation on child protection, too, will change: foreign children between the ages of 14 and 18 years who arrive unaccompanied will also be accommodated in the transit zone for the duration of the asylum proceedings in a state of crisis caused by mass immigration. In the case of unaccompanied minors under the age of 14 years, however, accommodation in a child protection institution continues to remain the rule.

The minor offences legislation has likewise been supplemented to the effect that, during a state of crisis caused by mass immigration, anyone who is not staying in the designated place of accommodation – which the authority designates on the basis of the Act on the Immigration and Residence of Third-Country Nationals or the Asylum Act – commits a minor offence.

The legislative package will enter into force on the eighth day following its promulgation.

The Interior Minister wrote in his reasoning that illegal immigrants in very large numbers abuse the EU regulations that are currently in force: they submit asylum requests, but they are free to move within the EU before a decision is adopted, and this poses a very significant security risk. The Government takes the view that after the passage of the law, however, “no one will be able to enter the territory of Hungary and the European Union illegally”.

(MTI)