Country Report: Overview of the main changes since the first report Last updated: 30/04/21
The previous update was published in March 2020.
- Access to the territory: UNHCR Serbia reported that 13,409 persons were collectively expelled from Romania to Serbia from 1 January to 31 December 2020, being the highest number of pushbacks registered since UNHCR Serbia began monitoring pushbacks in spring 2016. Higher numbers were registered in the second half of the year (1,636 in July; 1,409 in August; 1,771 in September; 1,600 in October; 1,758 in November and 1,449 December 2020). The number increased in comparison to 2018, when 746-persons were collectively expelled and 2019, when 1,561 were collectively expelled (a nine-fold increase). According to the Border Police, interpretation at the border for asylum information is still lacking. Asylum seekers complained about ill treatment by Border Police /Gendarmerie officers at the border.
- Asylum seekers: the number of asylum seekers has increased by 238% in 2020 compared to 2019. 6,158 new asylum applications were registered in 2020, compared to 2,587 in 2019. 980 unaccompanied children were registered in 2020, compared to 189 registered in 2019.
- Interpretation: The availability and quality of interpretation has remained an issue. In several Regional Centres, IGI-DAI still uses double interpretation.
- Videoconferencing: interviews and court hearings were held through videoconference.
- Accelerated procedure: 885 applications were assessed under the accelerated procedure, compared to 315 in 2019. Asylum applications of Afghan nationals were assessed also in accelerated procedure.
- Unsatisfying reception conditions remain being report in 2020, and preventive measures related to COVID-19 have severely restriction the liberty of movement of asylum seekers. During the state of emergency (16 March- 14 May 2020) granting permission to leave the centre was suspended. It was recommended to limit the movement of people outside the regional centres for 2 hours per day per person only for grocery shopping and other emergencies. During the state of alert (15 May-present) the movement of people outside the centre is still limited. Some asylum seekers had been quarantined or isolated in tents even during the winter months, where they only had access to cold water.
- In 2020, due to the high number of arrivals in Rădăuţi, Şomcuta Mare, Galaţi the specially designed closed spaces were used in order to accommodate asylum seekers.
Content of international protection
- Methodological Norms for the application of the Integration Ordinance amended: On 5 November 2020, the Methodological Norms for the application of the Government Ordinance no.44/2004 regarding the social integration of foreigners who have acquired a form of protection or a right of residence in Romania, as well as of the citizens of the state’s members of the European Union and the European Economic Area was amended. The main amendments concern the following areas:
- Article 7(1) : the requests to participate in the language courses provided in art. 6 may be submitted by the interested persons throughout the calendar year to the county and Bucharest school inspectorates or to the headquarters of IGI;
- Article 7(2): provides a deadline of 30 days, from the registration of the application, for the County School Inspectorate to ensure the registration of the applicants for the Romanian language courses;
- Article 9: indicates the category of foreigners as beneficiaries of cultural accommodation activities and not of adults, as regulated in the former methodological norms approved by Government Decision no. 1483/2004 (thus excluding minors from this type of activity);
- Article 12: provides for a reduced period, of 10 days compared to 30 days under the former legislation, for organizing the interview for the inclusion in the integration program;
- Article 15: IGI performs individual / family assessments (and not social investigations as regulated by the former legislation), for the purpose of accommodation in the regional centres;
- Article15 (4): provides that during the period in which the beneficiaries of international protection receive financial aid equal to that granted to asylum seekers, they are accommodated for free in the regional centres;
- Article 18: provides details on the subsidies afforded by IGI for rent and monthly costs, in case accommodation in regional centres and social houses is not available; and how this amount is calculated depending on the number of family members.
- Integration programme: In 2020 there was no integration project implemented in Region 1.
- Cessation and review of protection status: In 2020, IGI-DAI issued 55 decisions of cessation; 7 withdrawal decisions were issued.