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Mar 08, 2017

Hungarian parliament approves measures to tighten existing asylum regulations

With 138 votes in favor, 6 against and 22 abstentions, parliament approved new measures to prohibit asylum-seekers from leaving the transit zones set up on the border until their cases are ruled upon

Parliament has approved new measures tightening existing asylum regulations in Hungary, it has been revealed.

According to government sources, the new measures prohibit asylum-seekers from leaving the transit zones set up on the border until their cases are ruled upon.

With 138 votes in favor, 6 against and 22 abstentions, parliament approved a package of amendments submitted by interior minister Sándor Pintér which tighten existing asylum regulations and procedural rules concerning the state of emergency due to mass migration. The new legislation also makes it easier to declare such a state of emergency and “ensures no one can enter Hungary and the European Union without permission," Pintér said.

Among the new measures, police will send back illegal migrants to the other side of the fence along Hungary’s border. This applies to migrants picked up by police at any location in Hungary. The law also requires asylum seekers to be held in transit zones set up at the border. They will only be allowed to leave these zones in the direction of Serbia or Croatia. The law exempts lone minors below the age of 14, who will be under the care of the country’s child-protection services.

What's more, included within the measures, the authorities have the right to break off the asylum procedure should the asylum seeker refuse to have their fingerprints or photographs taken. The law will come into force 8 days after its announcement.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a recent oath-taking ceremony for border police that the influx of migrants might have ebbed but did not come to an end. “We are still under attack,” the prime minister said, adding that “the pressure on Hungary’s borders will not cease in the next few years because millions more people are preparing to set off in the hope of a better life”. “We can only rely on ourselves,” he said, adding that the European Union could not be relied upon and “they only make our job more difficult”.

The migration crisis will last until its causes are removed, he said. “It will remain on the agenda until it is recognised everywhere that migration is a Trojan horse for terrorism,” the prime minister added.