Identification

Slovenia

Country Report: Identification Last updated: 25/05/22

Author

Categories of people considered to be vulnerable are similar to those listed in Article 21 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, the only difference being that the IPA definition does not explicitly include persons with serious illness, although the definition is open to categories not listed.[1]

 

Screening of vulnerability

According to the law, the vulnerability of persons is assessed during the medical examination, which is conducted before the lodging of the asylum application.[2] Their vulnerability can also be identified during the lodging of the application or any time later pending the asylum procedure.[3]

In practice, physical vulnerability is assessed during the medical examination. In order to ensure the proper support is given to vulnerable asylum seekers, the Migration Directorate and the UOIM have to share information regarding the existence and nature of identified special needs of asylum seekers.[4] During the lodging of the application, the Migration Directorate states the detected vulnerability or identified special needs of the applicant on a form that is later sent to UOIM when the applicant is accommodated. The form is then checked by the responsible social worker in order to ensure that the proper support regarding accommodation is provided to the applicant.

Although the vulnerability of the applicant can also be identified by the Migration Directorate, during the personal interview the above-mentioned form is not filled up.

The identification of vulnerability is therefore largely based on the applicant’s statements during the lodging of the application and the personal interview. Since no special procedure for assessing vulnerability is in place, the vulnerability assessment is not as affected by the number of asylum seekers as by other factors like the person’s willingness to share sensitive personal information and the capacity of officials to detect special needs. In theory, all caseworkers should be responsible for identifying vulnerable applicants and for examining their asylum claim, but the procedure is not in place and this does not happen in practice.

If it is established that the asylum seeker is not able to participate in the asylum procedure independently the Migration Directorate is obliged to notify the social services.[5] Based on the recommendation of the Migration Directorate and a medical examination, social services have to immediately appoint a legal guardian to the asylum seeker.[6] In practice the Migration Directorate will order an expert opinion before making the recommendation to the social services. In 2021, 3 asylum seekers were found to be unable to participate in the procedure independently and were found to be in need of a legal guardian. However, only two were appointed a legal guardian while in one case the social services took the role of the guardian. Due to the position of the Migration Directorate that a legal guardian can be paid only if he or she represents an unaccompanied minor and not if he or she represents an adult that is not able to independently participate in the procedure, legal guardians are not generally willing to represent such adults. In addition, legal guardians are only trained to represent unaccompanied minors, and not adults.

Special information sessions following the asylum application are conducted with unaccompanied children and other potential victims of trafficking.  In 2021 the project was implemented both by the NGO Institute for African Studies[7]  and the staff of UOIM. The sessions are aimed at informing potential victims of the dangers of trafficking, and at identifying potential victims. In general the sessions should be conducted with all unaccompanied minors, single women and identified victims of trafficking. In practice, due to the lack of translators and the high absconding rate of asylum seekers, the information sessions are often not carried out in practice. If someone is identified as a victim of trafficking, the SOPS are conducted, during which a plan for further action and support is made and the victim is offered additional support. In 2021 PATS sessions were carried out with only 229 individuals and 7 SOPS were conducted.[8]

 

Age assessment of unaccompanied children

If doubts about the age of the unaccompanied minor arise during the examination of the application for international procedure, a medical examination of the applicant can be ordered by the competent authority.[9] In the course of preparation of the opinion, the medical expert can also consult with experts of other fields.[10]

The medical examination for the purpose of age assessment can only be conducted if both the unaccompanied minor and his or her legal representative give written consent. If they do not consent without stating a valid reason the applicant is considered to be an adult. However, the decision to reject his or her application cannot be based solely on that refusal.[11]

If after obtaining the expert opinion, a doubt still exists as to the applicant’s age, he or she is considered a minor.[12]

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior concluded negotiations with medical institutions that will perform age assessment examinations. Before the agreement, the age assessment procedure was not used in practice. The lack of age assessment procedures meant that adults claiming to be children were sometimes accommodated together with unaccompanied children. Age assessment included an MRI of the applicant’s wrists and collar bones and a dental X-ray. Members of civil society are concerned that conducting such age assessment is unethical and unsafe.

In 2021, age assessment procedures (MRI and dental X-ray) were conducted in four cases. In 3 of these cases the assessment concluded that the individuals were not minors.[13]  Due to the large cost of medical examinations and the logistical problems owing to the remote locations where MRI can be conducted, the Migration Directorate  only conducts age assessments in exceptional cases.

 

 

 

[1] Article 2(22)IPA.

[2] Article 13(1) IPA.

[3] Article 13(2) IPA.

[4] Article 13 (1) Rules on the procedure for aliens who wish to apply for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia and on the procedure for accepting applications for international protection.

[5] Article 13(2) Rules on the procedure for aliens who wish to apply for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia and on the procedure for accepting applications for international protection.

[6] Article 19(1)-(2) IPA.

[7] The Institute for African Studies website can be accessed here: https://african-studies.org/.   

[8] Official statistics provided by UOIM, March 2022.

[9] Article 17(2) IPA.

[10] Article 17(3) IPA.

[11] Article 17(4), (5) and (7) IPA.

[12] Article 17(6) IPA.

[13] Official statistics provided by the Migration Directorate, March 2022.

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