The Aliens Ordinance provides that national, international and non-governmental organisations and other bodies competent in the area of migration, authorised and accredited under the law, shall be provided with the possibility to visit detention centres on the basis of the Protocols concluded with IGI or prior authorisation. In exceptional and duly motivated situations, it is possible to visit the centres within 48 hours.
Article 13 of the Public Custody Centres Regulation details visiting hours in detention centres for the following groups:
a. Representatives of diplomatic missions or foreign consular offices representing the detainees’ interests: 09:00 – 20:00 every day;
b. Representatives of national, international or non-governmental organisations competent in the area of migration, authorised and accredited under the law: 09:00 – 20:00 every day;
c. Family members or other persons who need to state the reasons for visiting: 10:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 for a maximum of 30 minutes, three times a week, usually on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday;
d. Legal representatives: 09:00 – 20:00 every day.
Lawyers have to hold a power of attorney from the foreigner held in detention. In some cases, lawyers have not been allowed access to detention centre on the ground that they had not had their lawyer’s card validated by the Bar Association.
Visits are authorised by the Head of the Centre or his or her legal representative. In the absence of cooperation Protocols, visits by NGO representatives are authorised by the Director of the IGI Migration Directorate. There have been exceptional situations whereby NGOs were not allowed to enter the public custody centre as the authorities declared that they were holding interviews during that day.
Media and politicians have access to detention centres if their request is approved. As far as JRS is aware, neither media nor politicians have visited the detention centres.
JRS is present once a week in the public custody centre of Otopeni and twice a month in Arad. JRS provides assistance to cases not covered by projects funded by the AMIF national programme such as assistance for subsequent applications, voluntary repatriation and Dublin returnees.
The JRS representative in Arad mentioned that she tries to discuss with as many detainees as possible. She also mentioned that the communication is done with the help of Google translate, as they do not have interpreters. Detainees have her phone number to contact her. Three days prior to her visit in the centre she informs the director of the centre; however, she is not aware if the director informs the foreigners.
The Public Custody Centres Regulation prescribes the conditions under which detainees may use the phone in order to contact people outside the centre. Foreigners may use the public telephone at their own expense from 09:00 to 22:00 every day. Every person is entitled to no more than 20 minutes free of charge phone per month.
In Arad there are only two public phones and according to the persons interviewed by the author during the visit, one of the phones was not working properly. The phones are not in the same building as living units so people have to be escorted by the police to use them. In 2018 and 2019 the Ombudsman also recommended the installation of at least two phones. The director of Arad mentioned that they received a wireless phone but it is only available for contacting the embassies. In Otopeni, according to the people interviewed, there are 2 wireless phones in the hallway next to their rooms and they can use them at any time with permission.
Detainees may use their personal mobile phone upon request, provided that it is not equipped with a camera. They are forbidden from using their personal mobile phone as long as they are under escort.
 Article 103(4) Aliens Ordinance.
 Article 13(1)-(3) Public Custody Centres Regulation.
 Article 12(1)-(4) Public Custody Centres Regulation.
 Ombudsman, Report of the visit to Arad,40/2018, 17; Report 52/2019.