General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)
Under Article 75(1) of the Asylum Act, the grounds for assessing an asylum claim into an accelerated procedure are:
- Manifestly unfounded applications;
- Asylum applications of persons who, through their activity or membership of a particular group, pose a threat to national security or public order of Romania;
- Asylum applications of persons coming from a Safe Country of Origin.
An asylum application is considered manifestly unfounded if the applicant:
1. Has no well-founded fear of being persecuted or exposure to serious risk in the country of origin as he or she:
– Has not claimed any fear of persecution or risk of serious harm;
– Has not provided data or information to support a fear of persecution or serious risk, or his or her statements do not contain circumstantial or personal details;
– Clearly lacks credibility, meaning that his or her statements are incoherent, contradictory or flagrantly inconsistent with the situation in his or her country of origin;
2. Has misled the authorities or has submitted the application in bad faith by:
– Filing an asylum application with a false identity or presenting false or falsified documents as authentic;
– Deliberately submitting false information after the asylum application has been lodged;
– Destroying, damaging or disposing of travel documents or a relevant document for his or her application, either to establish a false identity for the purpose of seeking and granting refugee status, or to obstruct the assessment of his or her claim;
– Deliberately concealing previous asylum applications in one or more countries, especially when he or she used a false identity;
– Making an asylum application for the obvious aim of preventing the enforcement of return, extradition or removal proceedings, after having been given the opportunity to make an asylum application;
– Entering the territory of Romania unlawfully or prolonging his or her stay unlawfully and, without good reason, not presenting him or herself to the authorities, or not lodging the application as soon as possible given the circumstances of his or her entry.
According to stakeholders in Galaţi, Rădăuţi, Şomcuta Mare and Giurgiu, most of the cases examined in the accelerated procedure are manifestly unfounded asylum applications. In practice, manifestly unfounded asylum applications are predominantly the applications made by economic migrants (Şomcuta Mare, Galaţi, Rădăuţi), or applicants who lack credibility (Giurgiu).
Şomcuta Mare: The asylum applications of 3 Somali asylum seekers were assessed in accelerated procedure; they invoked economic reasons, but also argued that if they return to their country of origin they will persecuted by al-Shabab groups. According to the JRS representative, there were also 3 cases of Bengali asylum seekers assessed in accelerated procedure.
Timișoara: According to the director of Regional Centre Timișoara, 10 asylum applications made by Serbians and Kosovar with entry bans in the EU were assessed in accelerated procedure. In addition, there were also approximately 15 asylum applications made in detention in the Arad Public Custody Centre, out which 5 were assessed in regular procedure and the rest in accelerated procedure.
Rădăuţi: Around 21 asylum applications were assessed in accelerated procedure; the asylum seekers invoked economic reasons. The asylum seekers were Iraqi, 6 Bangladeshis, Indian, Guinean, Turkish, Ethiopian, Somali, Algerian, Tunisian and Pakistan nationals.
Galaţi: 13 asylum applications were made by 4 Algerians, 1 Uzbek, 1 Iraqi, 4 Turkish (family- the parents and 2 underaged children), 1 Sri Lanka, 1 Sinhalese, 1 Nigerian, 1 Pakistani.
Bucharest: According to JRS representative, most of the asylum applications assessed in accelerated procedure where made by Indian and Bangladeshi nationals. The asylum applications were manifestly unfounded. The same was reported in Giurgiu.
The responsible authority for taking decisions at first instance on asylum applications in the accelerated procedure is IGI-DAI.
The accelerated procedure may be triggered during the regular procedure at the date when the case officer determines the existence of one of the grounds for applying an accelerated procedure. Article 79 of the Asylum Act provides that after the interview and the assessment of the reasons invoked in support of the asylum application, a decision should be issued within 3 days from the start of the accelerated procedure. Therefore, the trigger of the accelerated procedure may not coincide with the date of the personal interview. However, the cases where the accelerated procedure is triggered after the interview are very rare.
IGI-DAI reported 315 applications processed under the accelerated procedure in 2019, up from 167 in 2018 and down from 382 in 2017.
The Asylum Act requires a personal interview of asylum seekers in the accelerated procedure. Article 79 of the Asylum Act clearly states that a decision is made after an interview and after examination of the reasons invoked by the applicant. In practice, the personal interview is always conducted by IGI-DAI.
The same rules as in the Regular Procedure: Personal Interview apply.
The law provides for the appeal against a negative decision in the accelerated procedure, which must be submitted within 7 days from the notification of the decision. If the appeal is filed within the deadline, it has automatic suspensive effect.
There were no problems reported in relation to lodging an appeal in the accelerated procedure, as the deadline for submitting an appeal against a negative decision in the accelerated procedure has been increased from 2 days to 7 days with the 2015 reform of the Asylum Act.
The law provides for access to free legal assistance for asylum seekers during the accelerated procedure in the same conditions as the asylum seekers subject to the Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance. However, if asylum seekers are in detention in one of the two detention centres (Arad and Otopeni), there is no permanent access to legal counselling.
Whereas prior to 2015 the Aliens Ordinance required the release of foreigners from detention as soon as a first application for international protection was lodged, the Aliens Act now prescribes that an asylum seeker is only released when he or she is granted access to the regular procedure (see Detention of Asylum Seekers).
For the asylum seekers accommodated in the detention centre in Arad, legal advice is provided by the legal counsellor of the Regional Centre of Timișoara. In most of the cases, the legal counsellor provides legal counselling based on contact and information provided by the legal department of IGI-DAI when the decision was already communicated to them. According to CNRR, in general, the legal counselling is provided after the decision is communicated, if there is a decision to reject the asylum application in an accelerated procedure. When asked if the asylum seekers in the detention centres benefit from legal counselling before the personal interview, CNRR reported that this depends on the moment they learn about the asylum applications and on the promptness of IGI-DAI in conducting the interview.
In 2018 CNRR stated that there was a protocol concluded between CNRR and IGI on the communication/ information on the submission of asylum applications at border-crossing points, integrated centres, police custody, prisons or Public Custody Centres. The communication is made after the application is registered at IGI-DAI.
According to the director of Regional Centre of Timișoara, they verbally inform the legal counsellor when an asylum application is made in the Public Custody Centre of Arad. According to the director of Regional Centre Timișoara, the legal counsellor of CNRR of the Regional Centre of Timișoara generally drafts the appeal against the negative decision of IGI-DAI.
Article 76 Asylum Act.
Article 78 Asylum Act.
Information provided by IGI-DAI, 14 February 2018, 5 March 2019, 20 February 2020.
Article 80(1) Asylum Act.
Information provided by CNRR, 9 December 2019.
Information provided by CNRR, 9 December 2019.
Information provided by CNRR, 3 December 2018.