The Court of Justice of the European Union has delivered its judgment in the case of a Pakistani migrant, and has upheld every argument submitted by the Hungarian government; according to the judgment Hungary is legally entitled under the Dublin III Regulation to send back migrants to safe third countries.

After witnessing a mass influx of migrants to Hungary, in July 2015 – as one of a number of measures aiming to protect the country – the Hungarian government issued a decree containing a list of several countries of origin and third countries deemed to be safe at a national level. According to this decree, Serbia is deemed to be one of these safe countries of origin, and also a safe third country. This is also relevant to this specific case, which occurred in August 2015.

On 17 March 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its judgment in Case C-695/15 PPU: Shiraz Baig Mirza v Bevándorlási és Állampolgársági Hivatal (the Hungarian Office of Immigration and Nationality). This judgment upheld every argument presented by the Hungarian government. In doing so it concluded that the Hungarian regulations and their practical application – which allow for a so-called “inadmissibility test” related to applicants for international protection under the Dublin III Regulation – do comply with the Dublin III Regulation. Even if an applicant formally requests international protection in a Member State, one reason for declaring such an application inadmissible may be if the applicant has arrived from a so-called “safe third country”.

Therefore, after receiving an application under the Dublin III Regulation, the Hungarian authorities are legally entitled to examine that application in the light of the principle of a safe third country. If the conditions relating to safe third countries have been met, it is lawful for the authorities to order the applicant’s expulsion to the country which has been deemed to be safe.

In August 2015, the person referred to in the judgment – a Pakistani national – illegally entered Hungary from Serbia. His first application for international protection was submitted to the Hungarian authorities; without permission, and without waiting for the Hungarian application procedure to be concluded, he left for the Czech Republic. In light of this, under the Dublin III Regulation the Czech authorities transferred him back to the Hungarian authorities for adjudication of his application. The Hungarian authorities rejected his application as inadmissible and expelled him to Serbia, which the Hungarian state deems to be a safe country. The applicant then challenged this in court.

Suspending its procedure in the applicant’s case, in December 2015 the Debreceni Közigazgatási és Munkaügyi Bíróság (Administrative and Labour Court of Debrecen, Hungary) filed an application at the Court of Justice of the European Union. This was to request a preliminary ruling on whether, after having received the transfer of an applicant under the Dublin III Regulation, a Member State is entitled to assess whether an applicant for international protection had initially arrived from a safe third country.

In its judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union states that if, in compliance with the Dublin III Regulation, a responsible Member State takes back an applicant from another Member State (for example an applicant who has, without permission, left the Member State in which he or she submitted an application), this does not under the Dublin III Regulation prevent the responsible Member State sending the applicant to a safe third country.

(Ministry of Justice)