General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)
The law provides for “procedures for the imposition of measures to terminate residence” subject to reduced time limits for appeal and decisions on appeal, with the effect that certain cases are dealt with in an accelerated manner. For the purpose of this report, these are referred to as accelerated procedures.
Under Article 27 AsylG, an accelerated procedure is applied where:
- During the admissibility procedure, the BFA has notified the applicant of its intention to reject the application as inadmissible (see section on Admissibility Procedure) or dismiss the application on the merits;
- The appeal procedure is to be discontinued where the asylum seeker has absconded the procedure and a return decision was issued by the BFA;
- The BFA determines that the application should be rejected as inadmissible or dismissed on the merits and there is a public interest in accelerating the procedure. Public interest exists in particular, albeit not exhaustively, where an applicant:
- Has committed a criminal offence;
- Has been charged with a criminal offence by the Department of Public Prosecution;
- Has been subject to pre-trial detention; or
- Has been caught in the act of committing a criminal offence.
In case a “procedure for the imposition of measures to terminate residence” has been initiated, a decision on the asylum application shall be taken as quickly as possible and no later than 3 months.
In addition, Article 27a AsylG provides an accelerated procedure as such and states that certain cases may be decided within 5 months, with a possible extension if necessary for the adequate assessment of the case. Such accelerated procedures are foreseen when grounds for denying the suspensive effect of appeals apply, as stated in Article 18 BFA-VG. These reasons are:
- The asylum seeker comes from a safe country of origin;
- There are indications that the asylum seeker endangers public security and order;
- The asylum seeker has provided false statements on his or her identity, nationality and authenticity of documents;
- No reasons for persecution have been asserted;
- Statements adduced are obviously false or contradictory;
- An executable return decision has been issued before applying for international protection; and
- The asylum seeker refuses to provide fingerprints.
Procedures are also subject to stricter time limits in case the asylum application is examined at the airport (see section Border Procedure).
In 2017, the BFA conducted 1,371 fast-track procedures, according to information provided by the Ministry of Interior following a parliamentarian request. In 2018, 743 fast track procedures were processed by the BFA, compared to 439 from January to August 2019. The average duration was 22 days and, because of the length of the procedures and the large number of appeals in 2017, the Ombudsman intervened in some cases, mainly concerning asylum seekers originating from Afghanistan and Iran. Although the Ministry of Interior explained that, in principle, there is no prioritisation based on citizenship, the law provides for some exceptions in which the BFA will inevitably have to prioritise certain asylum applications.
All asylum seekers must conduct a personal interview. The law permits an exception in case the asylum seeker has absconded from the procedure. If the facts are established, failure by the BFA or by the Federal Administrative Court to conduct an interview should not preclude the rendering of a decision. No differences are observed from the Regular Procedure: Personal Interview.
The BFA may omit the conduct of the personal interviews in cases of subsequent applications which aim to prevent the execution of an expulsion order and/or subsequent applications without de facto protection against deportation (which have no suspensive effect and the expulsion order issued after the rejection of the first asylum application can be executed).
Time limits for appeals are the same as in the Regular Procedure: Appeal. The BVwG has to decide on the appeal within 3 months in cases granted suspensive effect. The BVwG has to decide on the appeal against negative decisions – which include expulsion orders – within 8 weeks.
In subsequent applications without protection against deportation, the court has to decide within 8 weeks if suspensive effect was not awarded. This provision has not much effect in practice, however, as asylum seekers may have been expelled or transferred before. Nevertheless, the appeal may have suspensive effect.
Difficulties in lodging an appeal against negative decisions in the accelerated procedure are similar to those described in the section on the Dublin Procedure: Appeal; especially regarding the lack of free legal assistance. Organisations contracted to provide legal assistance also have to organise interpreters if necessary.
The BBU-G foresees that the new Federal Agency for Care and Support Services will be responsible inter alia for providing legal assistance and interpretation as of January 2021. The explanations to the law state that it is planned to only employ five interpreters for the first half year of 2021, which should be increased to 15 interpreters during the second half year. Asylum authorities and Courts will still be able to contract external interpreters, however. Thus it is unlikely that the current situation will drastically change in the future in this regard.
Access to free legal assistance at first instance is difficult for asylum seekers detained during the accelerated procedure, although they may contact NGOs for advice. Free legal assistance is available for subsequent asylum applications too. As of 2021, the Federal Agency (BBU-GmbH) will provide legal assistance also in these cases.
As of 2021, the new Federal Agency on Care and Support Services will be responsible for the provision of legal assistance, including during the accelerated procedure. A right to legal advice – as required by the recast Asylum Procedures Directive – is only mandatory at second instance, i.e. before the BVwG. This means that, at first instance, legal assistance will only be provided depending on existing resources of the Federal Agency. As a result, it is likely that asylum applicants in the accelerated procedure will not have effective access to legal assistance. Moreover, while they are in principle allowed to access other NGOs, the restriction on their freedom of movement in the context of the admissibility procedure significantly limits their access to NGOs which are not present in certain initial reception centres.
In so-called accelerated procedures under Article 27a AsylG in conjunction with Article 18 BFA-VG, mandatory free legal aid for the admissibility procedure is circumvented by the possibility to forward the procedure to the BFA branch office without prior admission to the regular procedure. This practice took place from time to time in 2018 but has not been reported recently. When asylum seekers get an invitation to their interview, they are still subject to restrictions on their freedom of movement. Therefore they are not able to consult NGOs or lawyers outside the restricted area. There are only few cases reported in 2019. However, with the establishment of the Federal Agency (BBU-GmbH) in 2021, which will be responsible for accommodation and legal assistance, this practice is likely to increase.
 Article 27(1)(1) AsylG, citing Article 29(3)(4)-(5) AsylG.
 Article 27(1)(2) AsylG, citing Article 24(2) AsylG.
 Article 27(2) AsylG.
 Article 27(3) AsylG.
 Article 27(8) AsylG.
 Article 18 BFA-VG.
 Answer to parliamentarian request, No 3183/AB-BR/2018, 5 April 2018.
 Ministry of Interior, Answer to a parliamentary request, 232/AB, XXVII. GP, 21 January 2020, available in German at: https://bit.ly/32L7zjW; Ministry of Interior, Answer to a parliamentary request 3381/AB-BR2019, 9 July 2019, available in German at: https://bit.ly/2Ti9kSC.
 Article 24(3) AsylG.
 Article 19(1) AsylG.
 Article 27(8) AsylG.
 Article 17(2) BFA-VG.
 Article 18(2)(5) BFA-VG. See e.g. AsylGH (Asylum Court), A8 260.187-2/2011, 2 August 2011.
 Article 49(2) BVA-VG in conjunction with Article 29(3) BFA-VG.