The comments of Generation 2.0 RED in the public consultation on the draft law of the Ministry of Μigration and Asylum
The Ministry of Migration and Asylum had launched a public consultation from 18 June to 2 July 2021 on the new legislative initiative “Reformation of deportation and return procedures for third-country nationals, issues of residence permits and procedures for granting international protection and other provisions of competence of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum and the Ministry of Civil Protection”. Already from the title chosen for this draft law, one can easily understand the clear intention to further tighten the asylum and return procedures of third-country nationals. These policies follow a series of related decisions over the last period, such as the list of safe countries of origin and the recent designation of Turkey as a safe third country. All this forms a new reality in the field of Refugee Law, which by now is removing further from the provisions of international law and in particular from the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees.
Generation 2.0 RED participated in the public consultation by submitting comments on the proposed provisions directly related to the scope of the organization’s actions, i.e., issues of residence permits. In particular, we published comments on three articles amending provisions of the Immigration and Social Inclusion Code, i.e., Law 4251/2014, as applicable. Below you can read these comments:
Comment of Generation 2.0 RED: The amendment to the delivery of the rejection decisions of Law 4251/2014 by introducing alternative methods of service, such as by e-mail to an address declared by the applicant to the competent department or through the electronic application of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, tightens the framework of the delivery procedure by reducing its procedural guarantees. Indeed, the fact that the decision, which is to be delivered electronically, will be considered as served after forty-eight (48) hours of its electronic dispatch, puts the applicant at real risk of not being informed in due course so that he can apply for administrative appeal and/or an application for annulment within the time limit.
Comment of Generation 2.0 RED: The administrative appeal in principle has no time limits in accordance with Article 24 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, i.e., there is no general deadline for its exercise. The current provision of Law 4251/2014 provides for the application for treatment to be ‘’not examined if it is submitted after the elapse of a reasonable period of time which exceeds six (6) months from the date of the delivery of the decision unless there are reasons of force majeure.’’
With the proposed amendment, this period is reduced from half a year to one month, without the possibility of late submission of the application on grounds of force majeure. The time limit for exercising this right of the applicant is therefore substantially reduced, whereas in such a short period of time as one month, there is a risk that the applicant may not have been able to collect all the relevant necessary documents as evidence of the claims he/she wishes to make in the application for treatment.
Finally, the 50-euro fee needs to be revised, as it is too high compared to other administrative procedures (e.g. objections against the administration) and it seems more like a judicial fee.
Comment of Generation 2.0 RED: With regard to the proposed para. 3 which also eliminates from Law 4251/2014 the category of residence permit for humanitarian reasons following a reference to a rejection decision of the Appeals Authority, which had already been repealed from Law 4375/2016 by Law 4686/2020 we mention the following:
As an organization we have expressed from the beginning our opposition to the abolition of the possibility of granting a residence permit for humanitarian reasons to asylum seekers. The referral to a residence permit for humanitarian reasons is the necessary safeguard for vulnerable groups of asylum seekers. Many people may not qualify for international protection status, however they have serious reasons (health or existing strong ties) to be granted the right of legal residence in the country. That is why it is necessary to restore this possibility.