The Government will submit to Parliament the legislative package on the detention of illegal migrants on Tuesday, Bence Tuzson, State Secretary for Government Communication announced at his press conference held in Budapest.

One of the most important changes will be that immigrants will be required to wait in the transit zone located at the border of the country until the assessment of their asylum applications on a final and absolute basis. Mr Tuzson said in explanation that immigrants have fully explored and understood the loopholes in the current regulations that are based on EU legislation, and often only submit an appeal in order for the procedure to be continued within the country’s interior territory, and then „disappear from the sight of the authorities”.

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This also involves security risks as there are now a very large number of people in the EU „with an unclear status”, in consequence of which the security of the continent is compromised, he said, describing the reinforcement of the people’s safety and security as a fundamental duty of the Government.

From this point on, illegal migrants will only be able to leave the transit zone during the period extending to the final and absolute assessment of their applications in the direction of Serbia. Additionally, in the future illegal immigrants will be transported back to the transit zone not only from within a distance of 8 kilometres from the border, but from the entire territory of the country, not including unaccompanied minors under the age of 14 years, the politician said.

The relevant asylum proceedings will be conducted in their entirety in the transit zone. The legislation will also allow those who are today awaiting the assessment of their applications in open camps to be taken to the zone by the border.

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Mr Tuzson further said that a new rule would prescribe: infringement proceedings may be instituted against anyone who leaves or fails to present themselves at the designated place of residence, thereby violating the regulations relating to residence. This could even be punishable by infringement detention.

The legislative package of the Interior Ministry containing the amendment of the relevant four laws is designed to reinforce the legal closure of the border, and the goal is to ensure that „no one of an uncertain legal status (…) should be able to move freely” in the territory of Hungary, the State Secretary said, adding that due to the new regulations, the Government is expecting attacks from both Brussels and pro-immigration organisations, but they are prepared for these.

The Government is asking Parliament to decide within the shortest possible time on the proposal requiring a simple majority which may enter into force at the end of the spring, as expected, Mr Tuzson said.

In answer to a question regarding the closure of reception centres, he said: the proposal provides for the possibility that, in the event of increased migration pressure, the procedures which are to be conducted at the border can also be carried out „in more interior” territories, and therefore „it will be necessary to maintain such capacity”, while technical decisions will have to be adopted as to which centres should be maintained or closed.

The State Secretary responsible for government communication was also asked about the fact that former Free Democrat Mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky rejected the report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) on the metro 4 project as one-sided and unfounded at the Monday event of the Buda Liberal Club. Mr Tuzson said in reply: Gábor Demszky should not render an account of his position in a liberal club, but to the relevant authorities. He remarked: while Gábor Demszky previously „took credit for the entire metro 4 project”, now that it has transpired that there are problems, „he is trying to disown the project”.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)