Overall living conditions
The Asylum Home is located approximately 20 minutes by bus from the Ljubljana city centre in a rather isolated area, while the Branch Facility Kotnikova is in the city centre. The towns of Logatec and Postojna, where the other two branch facilities are established, are located 30 km and 50 km from Ljubljana respectively.
The Asylum Home was renovated in 2017. The average room surface in the Asylum Home is around 3.75 – 7.50 m2 per applicant, the same as before renovation, and of similar size to the rooms in the branch facilities. Applicants are normally accommodated in rooms for two to four persons. Bathrooms in all facilities are shared. Hygiene and other conditions in the Asylum Home and its branch facilities are generally considered to be satisfactory.
Applicants are provided three meals per day. Children up to the age of 15 are entitled to two additional intermediate meals. The menu is adapted to special medical or other needs on the basis of a doctor’s certificate or other proof. Religious and other dietary customs are taken into consideration, whenever possible. Asylum seekers in the Asylum Home as well as all branch facilities also have common kitchens at their disposal in which they can cook for themselves.
The Asylum Home employs social workers and a nurse, who are present in the facility on a daily basis. A psychiatrist visits the Asylum Home on a weekly schedule and is also available to applicants from branch facilities upon appointment. Social workers are available in the branch facilities as well. Medical assistance is mostly organised through appointments at regular clinics and hospitals. Security is provided by personnel of a security company. Legal counselling is provided by PIC and various other assistance and activities by other NGOs. Student Dormitory Postojna employs specialised staff for care of minors.
The facilities could benefit from more regular employment of cultural mediators and interpreters to help with reception issues and activities, so far only available inconsistently through projects. Kindergarten-type care of children could also be increased in scope. The number of staff in the facilities is otherwise generally considered sufficient, although it may be lacking during certain periods of time (e.g. due to gaps in implementation of projects).
In 2019, due to a large number of arrivals, the Asylum Home could not accommodate all of the persons waiting to lodge their application. Due to the lack of space in the reception area of the Asylum Home, individuals who had not lodged their applications were also accommodated in the room intended for common activities or on the hallways of the Asylum Home. For that purpose, beds were brought into the common room or the hallway. Hygiene standards were not adequate and people could not have any privacy. The number of people accommodated in the reception area of the Asylum Home often exceeded the number of available accommodation places. Due to the overcrowding of the accommodation spaces in the reception area of the Asylum Home, people were also accommodated in containers in Logatec. During the winter they were accommodated in one part of the centre. Although the conditions were not appropriate for longer stays, people had to wait to lodge the application for up to 15 days.
The medical examination is normally performed before the interview but on account of the delay in lodging, people were also obliged to wait for the medical examination. Before the medical examination was performed, they were in contact with other asylum seekers and employees of the Asylum Home. Due to the increase of arrivals, hygiene conditions were low and represented a health risk for both the asylum seekers and people working in the Asylum Home. After they lodged their applications, they were accommodated in the Asylum Home or one of its branches.
Activities in the centres
Many NGOs and humanitarian organisations provide support in the Asylum Home on a regular basis. PIC lawyers are available to asylum seekers for legal aid and assistance in the Asylum Home every weekday between 8 am and 3 pm. The Institute for African Studies provides special information sessions following the asylum application with unaccompanied children and other potential victims of trafficking. Društvo UP carries out activities every day, through a project aimed at assistance with accommodation and care of asylum applicants, which includes psycho-social assistance and free time activities. The organisation Mozaik currently provides two hours of childcare every day for families accommodated in the Asylum Home. Javni zavod Cene Štupar carries out a daily programme involving Slovenian language and literacy classes and learning assistance. Free time activities are currently also carried out by Slovene Philanthropy. The Red Cross Slovenia provided psycho-social counselling as well as workshops on sexual and gender-based violence in cooperation with Zavod Emma once per week. Asylum seekers also have a room in the Asylum Home dedicated for prayer and practicing their religion.
The Branch Facility Kotnikova is visited by PIC lawyers providing legal counselling every Tuesday and Thursday between 15:00 and 18:00. Slovenian language and literacy classes are also carried out on a daily basis by Javni zavod Cene Štupar, which is the same as in the Asylum Home. Slovene Philanthropy provides English classes twice or three times per week and Red Cross together with Zavod Emma provided counselling to victims of SGBV twice per month.
The Branch Facility Logatec is visited by PIC lawyers for legal counselling every Wednesday. Slovenian language and literacy classes are carried out on a daily basis by Javni zavod Cene Štupar. In 2019, the Red Cross together with Zavod Emma provided counselling to victims of SGBV once per week.
One shortcoming observed in the Slovenian system is that pre-school children do not have access to regular kindergartens and families can, in this regard, only rely on NGO activities, which may not always be available or sufficient.
Apart from the above, activities are also carried out in the Asylum Home and branch facilities by the social workers of the UOIM.
A project for interpretation and cultural mediation with access to health care, as described under (see Health Care), is implemented in the Asylum Home and Branch Facility Kotnikova and was previously also implemented in the Branch Facility Logatec.
In the Student Dormitory Postojna, activities are mostly carried out by the specialised staff of the facility; various educational, cultural and sports activities are organised by them in the dormitory and outside. Children also attend Slovenian and literacy classes organised by Ljudska univerza Postojna. Various other smaller activities and assistance are implemented by other organisations. PIC lawyers visit the facility to provide legal counselling once per month.
Average duration of stay
Considering that more than half of persons applying for asylum in Slovenia abscond – around 2,372 out of the 2,875 persons applying in 2018 – usually within a short time after the application, the turnover of people in the reception facilities is quite high. Applicants in the regular procedure often wait for the decision for over six months, possibly over one year or longer. The duration of Dublin procedures varies considerably and may be quick or take several months or longer. The average duration of accommodation in 2019 per person was 24 days. The statistics for the average duration of stay per reception facility is not available for 2019.
 European Migration Network (EMN), Focused Study: The Organisation of Reception Facilities for Asylum Seekers in different Member states, Slovene national contribution, 2013.
 Article 14 Decree on the methods and conditions for ensuring the rights of applicants for international protection.
 The project was concluded in December 2019.
 Information provided by UOIM, February 2018.