Before the entry into force of the LITP, according to the previous Law on Asylum, asylum seekers in Croatia were entitled to the same level of material reception conditions during all asylum procedures and during both the first instance procedure and the appeal stage. However, this has changed with the LITP, so for example material conditions may be restricted during the subsequent application procedure.
According to the LITP, applicants are entitled to accommodation at the Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers, but if they want, they are allowed to stay at any address in Croatia, subject to prior approval by the Ministry of Interior, at their own cost.1 According to the Ordinances on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions, they are entitled to accommodation in the Reception Centre from the moment they express the intention to lodge an application for international protection.2
During the examination of the Dublin procedure, asylum seekers are entitled to a place in the Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers, as well as to all other material rights as prescribed by the LITP.
LITP specifies that financial aid is part of material reception,3 and that the manner and conditions for achieving the material reception conditions shall be established by the Ministry of Interior, while the Reception Centre shall decide on the right to financial assistance.4 The amount of financial assistance should be established by the decision of the Minister of Interior.5 According to the Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions, asylum seekers are entitled to financial support from the day when they were accommodated in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers,6 either if they do not hold possession of greater value or if they do not have secured funds for personal use on a monthly basis amounting to more than 20% of minimum amount for social welfare support.7
Asylum seekers are entitled to financial support if, in the month for which they support, they have been accommodated in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers for at least 25 consecutive days.8 The only exception from this rule in relation to continuous accommodation is the situation when the person has been admitted in the hospital for treatment or if he or she has requested to be absent from the Centre and that the request has been approved.9
In 2016 the decision on the costs of accommodation at the Reception Centre for asylum seekers has been adopted as well. The house rules of the Reception Centre have also been adopted.
In practice the assessment of whether or not someone possesses sufficient financial means is determined based on the statement of the asylum seeker about his or her financial status which should be given when applying for international protection.10
It is not prescribed in legislation that material reception conditions are tied to the issuance of a document by the relevant authorities. However, according to the Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions asylum seeker who is accommodated in the Reception Centre, will be issued an accommodation certificate that contain information, amongst other, on the date of expression of intention for international protection as well as the date from which the person is accommodated in the Reception Centre.11 Besides that, applicants will be given an identity card which should be issued within 3 days from the day of lodging the application and it shall serve as a residence permit in the Republic of Croatia.12 According to the information available to the Croatian Law Centre, there were no delays in issuing the identity card.
Before the entry into force of the LITP, there were no particular obstacles which prevented applicants from accessing material reception conditions in practice. However, due to the exponential increase in numbers of asylum seekers compared to previous years, in the second half of 2016 accommodation capacities in Zagreb and Kutina were almost completely full. If the trend continues, the maximum capacity would be reached soon. According to Ministry of Interior, in both Reception Centres altogether 2,002 asylum seekers were placed in accommodation during the course of 2016.13
According to the Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions, Reception Centre where asylum seekers is accommodated, confirms the right to financial support and issues certificate approving the right to financial support.14
A good practice observed in the past was that in a few cases asylum seekers were allowed to stay in the centre even though their asylum procedure had finished and therefore the period during which they were entitled to accommodation had ceased. Unfortunately with the entry into force of the LITP, which restricted the right to accommodation of those applicants who lodge a second subsequent application, the practice has changed and people are no longer allowed to stay in the Centre.
- 1. Article 55(4) LITP.
- 2. Article 7(1) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 3. Article 55 (1) LITP.
- 4. Article 55(2) LITP.
- 5. Article 55(3) LITP.
- 6. Article 23(2) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 7. Article 23(2) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 8. Article 24(2) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 9. Article 24(3) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 10. Article 3(7) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 11. Article 7(6) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.
- 12. Article 62(1) LITP.
- 13. Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 2 March 2017.
- 14. Article 25(1)-(2) Ordinance on the Realisation of Material Reception Conditions.