The decision on detention of asylum applicants is taken by the Migration directorate or the UOIM. Asylum seekers can be detained in the Foreigners Centre or in the Asylum Home.
Most asylum seekers are generally not formally detained.
|Detention of asylum seekers 2017-2022|
In March 2019, the Supreme Court ruled, in accordance with the CJEU judgment C-538/15, Al Chodor, that the provisions of the IPA regarding the detention are not in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, since the IPA does not contain the definition of the “risk of absconding” and the objective criteria needed to establish the risk of absconding in an individual case. The Supreme Court therefore ruled that detention in the Dublin procedure is not lawful since the IPA does not contain the proper legal ground for detention. Thus, asylum seekers in Slovenia could not be detained in the Dublin procedure or on any other ground that required the risk of absconding to be established. The only possible ground for detention until the amendments to the IPA were made was preventing security threats to the country or to the constitutional order of the Republic of Slovenia or protecting personal safety, property and other grounds related to public safety.
In 2021, the IPA was amended and the definition of the risk of absconding was added. This enabled the authorities to detain asylum seekers again. In addition, the IPA now allows the UOIM to detain asylum seekers in order to prevent security threats to the country or to the constitutional order of the Republic of Slovenia or if it is necessary to protect personal safety, property and other grounds related to public safety. The UOIM did not have this authority based on the previous provisions of the IPA as only the Ministry of Interior could detain asylum seekers.
The changes include a provision that allows the Migration directorate to detain asylum seekers and individuals who have expressed the intention to apply for international protection but have not yet lodged the application. According to the new amendments, asylum seekers detained in the Foreigners Centre can be subject to the same measures as foreigners if they violate the rules of the Foreigners Centre. This means that they can be subject to solitary confinement, prohibited to attend the activities in the centre, or have their rights limited.
Detained asylum seekers have also struggled to obtain legal help and representation from refugee counsellors. Although 105 individuals were detained, only 90 judicial reviews against the detention orders were made. 5 individuals were detained by the UOIM and the others by the Migration directorate.
Apart from asylum applicants, the Foreigners Centre also detains aliens in return procedures, which is the main purpose of the institution. In 2022, 1,929 aliens were detained throughout the year. The highest number of detainees were nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Turkey. At the end of the year, 11 individuals were detained in the Foreigners Centre.
A regime of de facto detention is applied to all newly arrived asylum seekers. Upon arrival in the Asylum Home applicants are informed they are not allowed to leave the premises of the Asylum Home until they lodge the application. In general individuals had to wait from 3 to up to 20 days to lodge the application in 2022. If they leave the premises of the Asylum Home before lodging the application they are considered as foreigners under the Foreigners act meaning that they can be processed in the return procedure or readmitted to another country. They have to sign a statement that they were informed about the consequences of leaving the asylum home. In 2022 the UOIM stopped the practice of locking up the area where newly arrived applicants are accommodated. Due to the change in practice a large number of applicants absconded before lodging the application. In 2022, 31,447 individuals expressed the intention to lodge the application for international protection, however only 6,787 applications were lodged.
In 2022 asylum seekers were not properly informed that they cannot leave the Asylum home before lodging the application. They were only informed by the police or the UOIM that they will be processed as foreigners in case they leave the premises before lodging the application without an explanation on what this means. In addition, some were not informed at all while others had the wrong translator present. Because a large number of asylum seekers left the Asylum home before lodging the application the Migration directorate began to detain them after lodging the application. Detained asylum seekers protested and started a hunger strike. In addition they appealed against the detention decisions and the Administrative Court found that they were not informed in the language they understand in several cases.
Detention itself does not have an impact on the overall quality of the asylum procedure. According to Article 48 IPA, applications of the detained asylum seekers should be prioritised, yet it is not clear to what degree this provision is respected in practice as statistics on the prioritised procedures are not collected by the Migration directorate.
In 2022 1,062 individuals expressed their intention to apply for asylum in the Foreigners Centre.
 Supreme Court Decision, X Ips 1/2019 from 13 March 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2TSXCNr.
 Article 84(10)-(12) IPA.
 Article 77 Foreigners Act.
 Article 76.c(2) Foreigners Act.
 Official statistics provided by the Police, February 2023.
 Official statistics provided by the UOIM, May 2023.
 Official statistics provided by the Police, February 2023.
 For further information on this practice, see AIDA, Country Report Slovenia – 2021 Update, May 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3kCs3cg.
 Official statistics provided by the Police and the Migration directorate, 2023.
 MMC, Prosilci za azil gladovno stavkajo, ker menijo, da so zaprti po krivem, available at: https://bit.ly/3HfipnP.
 See for example: Administrative Court decision I U 1341/2022 available at: https://bit.ly/40VqFkd.
 Official statistics provided by the Police, March 2022.