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Asylum reforms introduced to prevent abuse

AN amendment to the asylum laws that comes into effect February 1 is designed to prevent abuse of the system and harmonize asylum law with EU legislation.

An asylum seeker will be allowed to work in Slovakia if the Slovak authorities do not complete their investigation of the case within a year.

Asylum seekers will carry an asylum seeker identification card. They will have to live in designated residential centres unless given specific permission to reside elsewhere, in which case they must declare where they will be living.

The amendment allows the Migration Office to carry out medical examinations to determine the age of an asylum seeker.

Asylum seekers will also be required to attend Slovak language courses to enable them to integrate into society more easily if they are granted asylum in Slovakia.

The amendment also sets a 15-day period in which asylum seekers must be informed of their rights and obligations under the law. It also requires immigration officials to put the asylum seeker in contact with Slovak NGOs that deal with asylum issues.

The amendment no longer provides for the detention of asylum seekers who break the rules of the residential facilities or who are suspected of committing a crime in special facilities, which had been included in the original plan.

Slovakia has recently been criticized by the UNHCR for accepting very small numbers of asylum seekers in proportion to the number of applications it receives.

Compiled by Roger Heyes from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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