Immigration Office head: Romania faces rising flow of Syrian asylum seekers

Romania is faced with a rising inflow of Syrian asylum seekers who account for nearly 43 percent of all asylum applications registered in the country, head of the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) Principal Quaestor Viorel Vasile said on Thursday at the presentation of IGI’s 2015 stocktaking report.

“In 2015, most foreign citizens who applied for asylum were family members or immediate relatives of Syrian citizens who have already settled in Romania,” he said.

Vasile Viorel mentioned that 104,139 foreign nationals are currently living in Romania. Most of the asylum seekers come from Syria – 541, Iraq – 214 and Afghanistan – 96.

“In 2015, illegal immigration posed a challenge to both Romania and the EU. The trend in our country’s immigration and asylum activities was marked by developments in the regions affected by armed, social or political conflicts, in the vicinity of Europe, on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” said Viorel Vasile.

In the period of reference IGI performed 2,324 actions and controls with forces of its own, and removal orders were issued for 2,159 foreigners.

Also, 189 foreigners were removed under escort from Romania and 258 foreigners were placed in removal centers.

Romania will take in 160 refugees from Italy and 135 from Greece

Romania will this year take in refugees who are currently accommodated in the EU, and following talks to this effect, it has been agreed on a number of 160 persons from Italy and 135 from Greece, said IGI head.

“Last year the decision was made at EU level for Romania to participate in the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece. At present, following discussions with the two countries, we agreed on a number of 160 persons from Italy and 135 from Greece. We forwarded letters of intent, the necessary checkups have been performed, we expect these persons to be sent to Romania. It all depends now on the colleagues from the two countries,” Viorel Vasile said.

In his opinion, IGI is prepared to conduct the interviews and assess asylum applications, both with the existing specialised staff and with additional personnel, trained in 2015.

“Moreover, measures have been taken to supplement the 950 accommodation places in the 6 asylum centres. At present, the occupancy rate is 11 percent, which means we have a quite safe margin. We can further supplement, as I have said, with a few more places and in the coming period I will present the leaders of the Interior Ministry the result of the assessment I ordered, so that we can also propose short-term measures, but also long-term solutions, for Romania to be able to cope, if necessary, with a massive immigrant flow,” the IGI head showed.

He said that, based on the analyses carried out, it is estimated that the refugee flow on the Balkan route will continue.

“From the evaluations conducted within IGI and based on the information supplied by the international agencies managing the migrant flow issue, we can appreciate that in 2016 the massive refugee flow along the Balkan route – Greece, Macedonia, Serbia – will continue. It is hard to estimate if the flow will be stronger than last year or not, but it is certain that it will continue and that is why, based on these analyses, we took the necessary measures,” Viorel Vasile also said.

Immigration Inspectorate manages stay in Romania of more than 100,000 persons

Romania’s General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) in 2015 managed the legal stay in Romania of 104,139 foreign nationals, 60,257 from third countries (Moldova, Turkey, China) and 43,882 from other EU member states, the EEA and the Swiss Confederation, according to an IGI 2015 activity report.

In the same period, 13,487 visa applications were filed with Romania’s diplomatic missions abroad, 10,112 of which were accepted, 2,415 for short-term stay and 7,697 for long-term stay.

As many as 2,506 work permits were issued for foreign nationals, up from 2014’s 2,346 permits.

In the area of combating undeclared jobs, 577 own control operations and jointly with relevant authorities were carried out in 2015.

These operations revealed 74 foreigners in illegal employment settings.

As many as 3,580 own and joint operations were also conducted to prevent and fight against illegal stay that revealed 2,159 illegal aliens, most of them coming from Moldova, Turkey, Syria and Israel.

Also in 2015, IGI received 1,266 asylum applications, down from 1,547 in 2014. Most of the asylum seekers were from Syria (541), Iraq (214) and Afghanistan (96).

Protection was awarded in 472 cases, with 230 people becoming refugees and 242 being awarded subsidiary protection, which means an approval rate of 59 percent. As many as 204 persons registered with the integration programme.

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