Dublin

Romania

Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 31/05/22

Author

Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

General

Measures imposed during the pandemic

In 2021 the Dublin procedure was not affected by the pandemic as in the previous year.  Incoming and outgoing requests were processed normally. In case of positive answers for the Incoming requests, the Romanian authorities inserted provisions regarding how to organise the future transfers, referring to the national health rules that must be taken into account by the Member States organising the transfers.[1]

Dublin transfers had to respect the national measures imposed by the respective Member States for all citizens, so there was no differential treatment for the asylum seekers transferred.[2]

As for transfers from Romania to other Member States, the rules and measures imposed by each Member States are followed.[3]

Dublin statistics: 2021

Outgoing procedure Incoming procedure
Requests Transfers Requests Transfers
Total 815 13 Total 9,493 600
Bulgaria 695 2 Germany 2,842 73
Greece 60 0 France 2,563 36
Germany 21 4 Austria 1,814 100
Croatia 16 1 Belgium 692 2
France 5 1 Czechia 327 70
Belgium 5 0 Slovakia 307 57

Source: IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

 

In 2021, Romania issued 815[4] requests compared to 168 in 2020 and received 9,493 requests compared to 3,221 in 2020 under the Dublin Regulation. The following criteria were used:

Outgoing and incoming Dublin requests by criterion: 2021
Dublin III Regulation criterion Outgoing Incoming
Family provisions: Articles 8-11 29 50
Regular entry: Articles 12 and 14 4 167
Irregular entry: Article 13 16 177
Dependent persons and humanitarian clause: Articles 16 and 17(2) 0 7
“Take back”: Articles 18 and 20(5) 766 9,092
Total outgoing and incoming requests 815 9,493

Source: IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022 (information requests under article 34 of the Dublin-regulation are not included).

 

Application of the Dublin criteria

To prove family links, the asylum seeker is not required to present original documents or to undertake DNA tests. In general, they present copies of the family book, birth certificate, residence permit of the relative with whom they would like to be reunited and, in the case of unaccompanied children, the relative’s desire to be reunited with the unaccompanied child, expressed in writing. According to legal counsellors, family unity is the most frequent criterion applied in practice, with the majority of cases concerning reunion with family outside Romania.

In Timișoara the family criterion was applied in 2021 in the cases of 3-4 unaccompanied children with relatives in other State Members, according to the director of the centre.

Şomcuta Mare: The JRS representative reported that in 2021 there were not so many outgoing Dublin cases. She mentioned the case of a Syrian asylum seeker who had to be transferred to Croatia under the Dublin Regulation. His appeal was rejected by the court. He decided to go back to his country of origin rather than going back to Croatia where he was beaten. Another Syrian asylum seeker who was supposed to be transferred to Croatia because his appeal was dismissed, stated the same, that he was detained and beaten and threatened. The Regional Court Baia Mare reported 3 appeals in the Dublin procedure; all of them were rejected as inadmissible.[5]

Giurgiu: according to the director of the centre, there were outgoing and incoming Dublin requests in 2021, but none of them was finalized because asylum seekers left the centre after the preliminary interview. Therefore, no transfers were carried out.

Galaţi: No transfers were carried out to other Member States. It was reported that there were cases of a hit for Bulgaria, but the asylum seekers left the centre before the decision was communicated.

Rădăuţi: there were cases of Dublin ‘hits’ for Bulgaria but they were granted access to the asylum procedure in Romania. family criterion was also applied; asylum seekers had relatives in Germany and Belgium.

Bucharest: in 2021 there were a few outgoing requests, according to the director of Vasile Stolnicu centre. According to the JRS representative there were also 4-5 cases of unaccompanied minors who were all transferred to Germany.

The most frequent criteria for outgoing requests were “take back”, mainly addressed to Bulgaria as it was in 2019. Similarly, the majority of incoming requests to Romania concern “take back” cases.[6]

The dependent persons and discretionary clauses

In 2021, Romania issued no outgoing requests and received 7 incoming requests based on the humanitarian clause. No outgoing nor incoming requests based on the dependent persons clause were issued or received in 2021. The sovereignty clause was not applied in 2021.[7]

 

Procedure

Article 119 of the Asylum Act states that, if after lodging an application for international protection and before taking a decision in the national asylum procedure, IGI-DAI discovers proof or circumstantial evidence which indicates the responsibility of another Member State to examine the application under the Dublin Regulation, it shall initiate the Dublin procedure.

All asylum seekers are fingerprinted, photographed and checked against the Eurodac database. In practice, there were cases where asylum seekers refused to be fingerprinted but, after they were explained that this was necessary for the asylum procedure and, in case of refusal, they would have been detained, they agreed to it. In case the applicant does not comply with the obligation to be photographed and fingerprinted,[8] measures of constraint may be applied. The use of these measures must be non-punitive, proportionate and applied only for the necessary period, if there is no other way of determining the asylum seeker to cooperate with the staff of IGI-DAI.[9]

Individualised guarantees

Practice does not indicate that the Romanian Dublin Unit requests individual guarantees prior to a transfer.

The decisions issued by IGI-DAI in Galaţi and Giurgiu do not mention any information regarding the fact that individual guarantees were requested by the Romanian Dublin Unit or any information regarding the state of play of the applicant’s asylum procedure in the respective Member State. According to the director of Regional Centre Timișoara, the Dublin Unit does not seek individualised guarantees but requests information regarding the stage of the procedure prior to a transfer.

Transfers

According to Article 127 of the Asylum Act, an asylum seeker who is subject to the Dublin procedure has the same rights and obligations as an asylum seeker in the regular procedure until the date when the transfer is effectively carried out. This means that he or she has the right to stay in the regional centres until the date he or she is actually transferred to the responsible Member State.

Nevertheless, IGI-DAI may reduce or withdraw the material reception conditions of asylum seekers, including asylum seekers subject to the Dublin procedure. The motivated decision may be challenged in court.[10]

The restrictive measures prescribed by law, which may be imposed to the asylum seeker subject to Dublin procedure are:

  • The obligation to report at IGI;[11]
  • Designation of his or her residence in a Regional Centre of Procedures for Asylum Seekers;[12]
  • Placement or, as the case may be, remaining in public custody (detention).[13]

The only restrictive measure not applicable to asylum seekers subject to Dublin procedure is the placement in specially designated closed places, which are defined as alternatives to detention but in practice consist of detention rooms in the Regional Centres.[14] Reporting duties and residence in a specific place may be imposed in order to ensure the transfer.[15] Detention for the purpose of a transfer is discussed in Grounds for Detention.

If after the asylum seeker isplaced in detention, one of the deadlines provided byArticle 28(3) of the Dublin Regulation expires, the measure ceases to have effect. IGI draws up a notice on the cessation of the measure, which is communicated to the applicant.[16]

In general, asylum seekers subject to the Dublin procedure are not placed in detention, this was also confirmed by the IGI-DAI director from Timișoara.

According to IGI-DAI, the average duration of the Dublin procedure between the issuance of a request and the transfer is 2-3 months. The average duration of the process between acceptance of responsibility and transfer takes one month.[17] In Bucharest, Giurgiu and Şomcuta Marethe stakeholders reported no transfers.

Timișoara: According to the director of the Regional Centre, the Dublin procedure lasted 3-4 months and trasnsfers were conducted in 1-2 weeks. The JRS representative reported the case of three unaccompanied minors who were accommodated at DGASPC, two of them arrived in Romania in March 2021 and a third one in October 2021. For one of the asylum-seeking children, because she could not prove her family ties, she followed the asylum procedure in Romania. According to the JRS representative no transfers were done in 2021.

Rădăuţi: the Dublin procedure lasted 2 months in 2021 and no transfers were perfomed.

Bucharest: in 2021 transfers were carried out to other Member States according the JRS representative. The procedure lasted around 3 months from the suspension of the asylum procedure until the asylum seekers were transferred.

Giurgiu: No transfers reported in Giurgiu, by the director.

Şomcuta Mare: no transfers were reported.

Galaţi: No transfers reported by the JRS representative.

Romania issued 815 requests and implemented 13 transfers in 2021, thereby indicating a transfer rate of 1.59 %.[18]

 

Personal interview

According to the law, if during the preliminary interview the answers of the asylum seeker indicate the necessity to start the Dublin procedure, the preliminary interview is conducted pursuant to Article 5 of the Dublin Regulation.[19]

In Şomcuta Mare the Dublin interview is held during the preliminary interview; there is a special column dedicated to questions related to the Dublin procedure asking whether they had previously applied for asylum in another Member State. The officer in charge of fingerprinting and photographing the asylum seekers holds the interview. In Rădăuţi, the Dublin interview is held after the preliminary interview. In Galaţi the interview is conducted after the preliminary interview by the officer in charge of fingerprinting and photographing the applicants. In Giurgiu, the Dublin interview is conducted when, on the basis of the applicant’s statements and other documents, the officers determine the need to start the Dublin procedure; this is usually decided after the applicant’s preliminary interview.In Timișoara, according to the director of IGI-DAI Timișoara, the Dublin interview is an annex to the preliminary interview. The annex includes questions regarding presence in the respective Member State, knowledge of any decision taken on their application, willingness to return there. The interview is carried out by the same officer who conducts the preliminary interview.

The interview in the Dublin procedure takes place faster than in the regular procedure, even on the same day as the preliminary interview. A copy of the transcript of the interview is not handed over to the asylum seeker after the interview. However, he or she may request it under the provisions of the Asylum Act.[20] The modalities are the same as the regular procedure as regards the other aspects.

 

Appeal

Article 121 of the Asylum Act establishes the conditions of appeal in case of the Dublin procedure. The decision rejecting access to the asylum procedure in Romania and ordering the transfer to the responsible Member State may be challenged within 5 days of its communication. The transfer to the responsible Member State shall be suspended until the expiry of the legal deadline for filing the appeal.

In contrast with the regular procedure, lodging the appeal in the Dublin procedure does not have automatic suspensive effect. When appealing, the applicant may also request the suspension of the implementation of the transfer decision.[21] The request for suspension is decided urgently in the council chamber by final conclusion, and the parties are summoned.[22] The implementation of the transfer decision is suspended until the court decides on the request for suspension.[23]

In situations that could not have been taken into consideration at the moment of issuing the decision, the case officer may, ex officio, decide to suspend the transfer decision until the court has ruled on the appeal. The measure is communicated to the applicant, according to the provisions on communication of decisions in the regular procedure.[24]

The court shall settle the case within maximum 30 days.[25] The competent court is the Regional Court (Judecatoria)with territorial jurisdiction over the area in which IGI has issued the decision.[26] The decision of the court is final.[27]

If the court admits the appeal and decides that the application for international protection in Romania should be resumed and the applicant has already been transferred to the responsible Member State, IGI shall take the necessary steps to readmit him or her to the territory of Romania.[28]

According to case law in Giurgiu, the Regional Court never takes into account reception conditions, recognition rates or procedural guarantees when assessing the complaint against a Dublin transfer decision. The appeal is only a formality, there is only one hearing and the decision is a copy-paste of the IGI-DAI decision.

In Timisoara only one appeal against a transfer to Austria was formulated and it was dismissed.[29]

In Galati three appeals were lodged against a transfer to Bulgaria and all were rejected.[30]

In Bucharest only one appeal was registered against a transfer to Croatia and it was rejected.[31]

In Giurgiu 4 appeals were lodged against a transfer to Bulgaria. The asylum seekers left soon after, according to the director.

 

Legal assistance

According to Article 127 of the Asylum Act, an asylum seeker subject to the Dublin procedure has the same rights and obligations as an asylum seeker in the regular procedure until the date when the transfer is effectively carried out. Hence, they also have access to free legal assistance.

Asylum seekers have the same conditions to access legal assistance in the Dublin procedure as those subject to the regular procedure (see Regular Procedure). The only difference, which might be problematic, is the 5-day deadline to lodge an appeal against a Dublin decision. Nevertheless, legal counsellors have not reported any problems in filling appeals against negative decisions.

 

Suspension of transfers

Greece: Romania resumed Dublin procedures to Greece as of 1 October 2018.[32]

60 outgoing requests were made to Greece in 2021, according to the statistics provided by IGI-DAI and no transfers to Greece were carried out.[33]

The directors of Timisoara and Vasile Stolnicu stated that transfers to Greece are not carried out due to the reception conditions in the country.

Bulgaria: the highest number of “take back” requests (695) were issued to Bulgaria but only 2 transfers were carried out.[34]

 

The situation of Dublin returnees

The Asylum Act includes provisions concerning cases of express and tacit withdrawal of an asylum application.[35]An implicit or tacit withdrawal of an asylum application occurs when the applicant is not present on the scheduled time for the preliminary interview or personal interview, without presenting good reasons for his or her absence.[36]In case of tacit withdrawal, IGI-DAI writes a report regarding the absence of the asylum seeker from the interview.[37] In these cases, the decision to close the file shall be issued after the expiration of a period of 30 days from the date of the aforementioned report.[38]

When the asylum seeker expressly withdraws his or her asylum claim, this is considered an explicit withdrawal of the asylum application.[39] The asylum seeker shall be informed of the consequences of his or her withdrawal in a language he or she understands or is reasonably supposed to understand.[40]

When an asylum application was tacitly withdrawn and the asylum procedure was discontinued (i.e. the case of a person who have left Romania and moved to another EU Member State), if the person makes an asylum claim within 9 months of the decision to close the file issued for implicit withdrawal, the asylum procedure may be continued.[41] If the timelimit has expired, the asylum claim is considered a Subsequent Application.

The legal framework is different when a person hasleft the territory for at least 3 months or had beenremoved to a third country or to the country of origin under Articles 19(2) and (3) of the Dublin Regulation and, consequently, the asylum procedure was discontinued by a decision closing the file. In this case, a new claim lodged successively in Romaniais not considered a subsequent application.[42]

Therefore, persons who expressly withdrew their asylum applications without leaving the territory of the EU or being returned to a third country or the country of origin, cannot continue their asylum procedure in case of return to Romania. As a consequence, they will have to lodge a subsequent application.

It should be noted that the Asylum Act does not fully comply with Article 18(2) of the Dublin Regulation, which allows applicants whose claims have been withdrawn to have access to the procedure without lodging a subsequent application.

For persons returned to Romania who have been previously interviewed and received a negative decision in the administrative phase of the procedure and have not sought judicial remedy, the asylum procedure does not continue. They may only lodge a subsequent application. For persons returned to Romania who have not been previously interviewed the asylum procedure continues.

Stakeholders interviewed in Timișoara, Galaţi, Rădăuţi, Somcuta Mare reported that no asylum seekers were transferred in their centre based on incoming requests.

Bucharest: All the asylum seekers transferred to Romania according to incoming requests were accommodated in Vasile Stolnicu centre and afterwards in the Tudor Gociu centre.  20-30 transferred asylum seekers arrived in Bucharest per month.  Around 200 asylum seekers transferred from another Member State to Romania based on the Dublin Regulation were accommodated in Vasile Stolnicu and Tudor Gociu centres, according to the director of Vasile Stolnicu centre. They were Syrian, Afghan Iranian and Iraqi nationals. The majority of them were transferred from Germany and France. According to the director of Giurgiu centre, asylum seekers were also accommodated in this centre after their transfer to Romania. However, she was not aware of the number of asylum seekers.

In 2021 Romania received 600[43] incoming transfers, compared to 73[44] incoming transfers in 2020.

 

 

 

 

[1] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[5] Information provided by the Regional Court  Baia Mare, 17 February 2022.

[6] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 16 February 2021.

[7] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 16 February 2021.

[8] In accordance with Article 19(a) Asylum Act.

[9] Article 18(3) Asylum Decree.

[10] Article 19^1(1)-(2) Asylum Act.

[11] Article 19^2(1)(a) Asylum Act.

[12] Article 19^2(1)(b) Asylum Act.

[13] Article 19^2(1)(d) Asylum Act.

[14] Article 19^2(3) Asylum Act.

[15] Articles 19^3 and 19^4 Asylum Act.

[16] Article 19^14(10) Asylum Act.

[17] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[18] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[19] Article 43(3) Asylum Act.

[20] Article 17(1)(f^1) sets out the right to have access, personally or through a representative, to the information contained in the personal file, unless the disclosure of the information or sources, from which it was obtained would jeopardise the national security, the organisations or persons who provided that information, or if it would be prejudicial to the examination of the application for international protection. Access to the information in the personal file is based on a request addressed to the specialised asylum structure of IGI. At the request of the applicant for international protection, copies of documents from the personal file may be issued free of charge, in accordance with the provisions of the present law.

[21] Article 121(3) Asylum Act.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Article 121(4) Asylum Act.

[24] Article 121(5) Asylum Act.

[25] Article 121(6) Asylum Act.

[26] Article 121(2) Asylum Act.

[27] Article 121(7) Asylum Act.

[28] Article 121(8) Asylum Act.

[29] Information provided by the Regional Court Timisoara,10 february 2022

[30] Information provided by the Regional Court Galati, 27 January 2022

[31] Information provided by the Regional Court District 4 Bucharest, 7 February 2022.

[32] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 5 March 2019.

[33] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Article 51 Asylum Act.

[36] Article 51(1)(b) Asylum Act.

[37] Article 51(3) Asylum Act.

[38] Article 51(5) Asylum Act.

[39] Article 51(1)(a) Asylum Act.

[40] Article 51(2) Asylum Act.

[41] Article 94^1 Asylum Act.

[42] Article 94^1(1)(a) Asylum Act.

[43] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 11 March 2022.

[44] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 16 February 2021.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation