New legislation drafted by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry aimed at speeding up asylum applications and intensifying the pace of returns and deportations in a bid to reduce the number of migrants and refugees trapped in Greece by lengthy bureaucratic procedures was put up for public consultation on Wednesday.
The legislation, according to ruling New Democracy sources quoted by the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), has been streamlined into a single, “user-friendly” document covering all stages of the process, from identification to the terms of approval or dismissal of an asylum claim.
Geared mainly towards accelerating deportations, the new system would prevent appeals against negative decisions that are not shown in an official brief to have legal merit, while also scrapping recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a valid basis for an asylum claim, unless it is backed by ample medical evidence.
It would also allow asylum boards’ rulings and decisions to be delivered to a legal representative of the claimant in the event that he or she cannot be located, thus allowing decisions to come into effect faster, while abolishing the right to temporary residence and work permits if a claim is rejected at the first degree.
The aim of the latter measure, according to government sources, is to prevent the asylum process from being exploited by economic migrants, the ANA-MPA reported.
Under the new rules, the movement of refugees and migrants would also be restricted.
Anyone protesting their transfer to another facility from a reception center or objecting to any other part of the system, for example, would be treated as reneging on their right to apply for asylum. All claimants also have to remain at official camps or other accommodation for the duration of the process so that they can be located in the event that their application is rejected and they are slated for deportation.