The report was previously updated in April 2023.
A quasi state of exception has been introduced into Hungarian law in September 2015, titled the “state of crisis due to mass migration”. During this state of crisis special rules apply to third-country nationals irregularly entering and/or staying in Hungary and to those seeking asylum, and certain provisions of the Asylum Act are suspended. The state of crisis has been used as a pretext to deviate from several EU law provisions on asylum. Seven and a half years later, the state of crisis due to mass migration is still in force. This also means that police are still authorised to carry out pushbacks across the border fence of irregularly staying migrants (including those who wish to seek asylum in Hungary) from any part of the country, without any legal procedure or opportunity to challenge this measure.
A new asylum system (embassy procedure) introduced in May 2020, severely limiting access to asylum, including for those who are legally staying in Hungary, is still in force. Asylum applications can only be lodged after a declaration of intent is approved by the asylum authority. Declarations of intent can only be lodged at the Hungarian embassy in Kyiv (Ukraine) or Belgrade (Serbia), except for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, family members of recognised refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and those being subject to forced measures, and measures or punishments affecting personal liberty if they entered legally. The Government introduced the embassy procedure by referring to the COVID pandemic, claiming that persons arriving from outside the country’s borders in uncontrolled circumstances pose an outstanding risk of infection. The maintenance of this system is unjustified, especially since the epidemiological entry restrictions were lifted on 7 March 2022 and the Government ended the state of danger due to the COVID pandemic on 1 June 2022. The infringement case of European Commission v. Hungary on this matter is still pending before the CJEU.
- Key asylum statistics: 44 persons applied for international protection in Hungary in 2022, including 13 Afghan nationals. Concurrently, 17 statements of intent were lodged in the context of the embassy procedure, out of which 4 Iranians were granted authorisations by the NDGAP. Out of the 33 decisions taken by the NGDAP, 10 granted refugee status, 14 recognised subsidiary protection and 9 were rejections, making for a 73% recognition rate among the very limited numbers of persons allowed to follow through with the procedure.
- No access to the asylum procedure: In 2022, only 44 people managed to apply for asylum in Hungary. 4 Iranians were granted a single-entry permit to apply for asylum in Hungary, after submitting their statement of intent at the Embassy in Belgrade. Further judgements were delivered finding that the decisions on rejection of intents lacked sufficient reasoning, but none of the cases have yet resulted in a positive decision of the asylum authority, as the asylum authority tried to delay the implementation of the judgements by unjustifiably suspending the repeated procedures. The asylum authority also continues to issue refusal decisions to those who entered Hungary legally and try to apply for asylum, stating that they are requesting something impossible, as according to the current legislative framework in place, they should submit an intent at the Hungarian Embassy prior to being allowed to apply for asylum in Hungary, despite some positive judgements finding such decisions unlawful.
- Push backs: In 2022, 158,565 people were pushed back to Serbia, which is double compared to 2021. Despite the CJEU judgement from December 2020 and two ECtHR’s judgements finding the push backs unlawful pushbacks continue to take place, as the Government refuses to implement these judgments.
- Access to classified data in national security cases: On 22 September 2022, the CJEU ruled in case C-159/21 that the Hungarian regulation is in breach with EU law and held that asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection must have access to at least the essence of the grounds of the expert authority’s decision on national security risk and that the asylum authority must state in its decision the reasons for which protection is being refused and cannot rely solely on the unreasoned decision of the expert authorities and which cannot be binding for the asylum authority.
- Right to request suspensive effect in national security cases: The controversial decree removing the right to request suspensive effect of expulsion decision based on national security grounds is no longer in force.
- ‘Hybrid’ safe third country/first country of asylum: The inadmissibility ground declared non-compliant with the EU law by the CJEU in 2020 was finally removed from the Asylum Act.
- Extremely low occupancy of reception centres: The open reception centre in Vámosszabadi remained empty the whole year.
- Limited access to reception facilities: In 2023, the HHC was still banned from accessing reception facilities.
Detention of asylum seekers
- Low number of detainees: 7 asylum seekers were detained in asylum detention in 2022.
- Limited access to detention facilities: In 2022, NGOs were still banned from accessing detention facilities. As a result, monitoring could not be carried out, and necessary services such as free legal counselling, social assistance, psycho-social and therapeutic treatment, except on a case-by-case basis, could not be regularly provided.
- ECtHR judgements: In 2022, four more judgements finding the breach of Article 5, 3 and 13 with regard to detention in the transit zone were issued.
Content of international protection
- Increase in successful citizenship applications: proportionally more former beneficiaries of international protection received Hungarian citizenship than in the previous year; at the same time, the rejection rate of citizenship applications also decreased.
- Decrease in initiating status withdrawal procedures: the NGDAP asylum authority initiated substantively less status withdrawal procedures compared to the previous year. The decrease may also be attributed to the fact that the authority was overburdened by conducting temporary protection procedures;
- Less beneficiaries of international protection accessing services: Services provided by relevant stakeholders, primarily by NGOs, are less frequently accessed by beneficiaries. This may be attributed to the restrictive asylum policies that have been in effect for 3 years, which result in less asylum-seekers being allowed to access the procedure and being granted international protection.
- Capacity issues of service providers: NGOs providing services for international protection beneficiaries struggled with serious capacity issues regarding the substantial displacement from Ukraine.
- Key temporary protection statistics: As of 31 December, the number of temporary protection beneficiaries was extremely low (28,908) even though more than 2.8 million persons fleeing Ukraine entered Hungary in 2022. During the year, up until 31 December 2022, 33,273 individuals registered for temporary protection, among which 923 individuals received tolerated status instead of temporary protection status.
Temporary protection procedure
- Breach of EU law: Third-country nationals who had permanent residence in Ukraine are not eligible neither for temporary nor for any other adequate protection in Hungary. Those persons whose temporary protection application is unsuccessful cannot submit an asylum application. These legal circumstances are clearly in breach of EU law regulating the temporary protection scheme.
- The protection is not immediate: To access the whole range of reception conditions, registration for temporary protection is not sufficient, the procedure for settling temporary protection status has to have been completed and it takes up to 2-3 months.
- New border–control policy: Since the end of January 2023, third-country nationals without valid travel documents and those who were residing in Ukraine prior to 24 February 2022 and left Ukraine later but then returned, are not granted entry to Hungary. These people, even if eligible, cannot access temporary protection procedure in Hungary. People (including Ukrainians) with an entry ban issued by an EU Member State are also refused entry.
Content of Temporary protection
- Low number of temporary protection beneficiaries receiving subsistence allowance: The number of temporary protection beneficiaries receiving the subsistence allowance is approx. 7,000. This is an extremely low number, given that the subsistence allowance is the only sate-funded financial support available for displaced persons from Ukraine.
- Chaotic housing coordination: Housing has been one of the most chaotic areas of the Hungarian implementation of the TP scheme. Tasks and competencies have not been regulated by the usual legal instruments, but were rather coordinated in an ad hoc According to the knowledge of the HHC, no state-run reception facility received displaced persons from Ukraine. Accommodation was mainly provided by municipalities, churches, charities, NGOs and private entities.
- Difficulties in accessing education: Hungarian public education institutions were not prepared to receive Ukrainian children, therefore, no Hungarian language courses are provided to them, hindering the children’s integration into the education system. No catch-up or tutoring classes are available for those bilingual, typically Roma children, who, although they speak Hungarian, are lagging behind their classmates.
- Difficulties in accessing health-care: As most of the temporary protection beneficiaries do not have a social security number, health care providers often refused to provide them with services, due to the lack of understanding of the rights linked to temporary protection.
 M.B.K. and Others v. Hungary, appl.no. 73860/17, 24 February 2022, A.A.A. and Others v. Hungary, appl. no. 37327/17, 9 June 2022, W.O. and Others, appl. no. 36896/18, 25 August 2022 and H.M. and Others v. Hungary, appl. no. 38967/17, 2 June 2022.