The IPA provides that before applying for international protection, the applicant must be provided information (in a language he or she understands) about the procedure, rights and obligations of the applicant, possible consequences of failure to comply with the obligations and failure to cooperate with the competent authorities, the time frames for legal remedies and information about refugee counsellors and NGOs working in the field of international protection. At the request of the applicant, all information relating to their individual asylum procedure also needs to be provided free of charge throughout the procedure.
The law does not specify in what form the information is to be provided. After the applicants have undergone their medical examination and before they lodge their asylum application, information is provided orally by PIC lawyers with the help of an interpreter. The duration of information sessions is limited to a maximum of 30 minutes in regular cases and 60 minutes in case of unaccompanied children or group sessions of three or more people. The information provided is tailored by the PIC lawyers to the individuals in question, e.g. unaccompanied children, potential victims of trafficking, persons in the Dublin procedure. Legal guardians are usually present in information sessions with unaccompanied children and can participate in providing information; this is usually the first opportunity for them to meet with the child and introduce themselves after being appointed.
All asylum applicants are entitled to the information session, regardless of the type of procedure that may ensue. Considering the time restraints of the information session, addressing and adequately presenting all aspects of the asylum system in Slovenia is challenging. For example, applicants are informed about their rights and obligations during the Dublin procedure – consequences of travelling on to another EU Member State, absconding from a transfer – but it remains difficult to guarantee a full understanding of the functioning of the Dublin system and its consequences for their individual case in practice.
Throughout the asylum procedure, PIC lawyers are available to asylum seekers for any questions regarding procedures and rights and obligations they have. PIC lawyers are present in the Asylum Home every weekday and in branch facilities in accordance with a set schedule. Information may also be provided by the Migration Office officials in individual cases during the official interviews or separately.
In the past, during the asylum application process, people were also given a brochure in their language, prepared by the Migration Office, which described the asylum system in Slovenia. However, the brochures are currently outdated and were not regularly in use in 2019.