we bring you information on the approval of the amendment to the Act on the Residence of Aliens No. 404/2011 Coll. On 06.09.2023, the Government of the Slovak Republic approved a substantial change concerning in particular illegal migration of persons through the territory of the Slovak Republic, when the Office of Border and Alien Police will no longer be obliged to initiate formal administrative proceedings in the matter of administrative expulsion of aliens. Thus, overall, this change should mean a substantial speeding up of the processes in the procedure of administrative expulsion of migrants and at the same time relieve the burden on the activities of the Office and the Unit for Combating Illegal Migration.
More information from the explanatory statement and the explanatory memorandum is provided in the article below. At the same time, the government approved an abbreviated legislative procedure, which in layman's terms means the fast-tracking of the entry into force and effect of the change to this law. The original documents are available for download at the end of the article.
Other changes to the law, specifically in cases of legal migration, are not made by amending this law.
Due to the increasing illegal migration on the territory of the Slovak Republic, it is proposed to take effective measures to reduce the number of illegal migrants and to immediately restore the possibility of administrative expulsion of these persons. Illegal migration on the territory of the Slovak Republic is constantly increasing, with 17 529 foreigners detained on the territory of the Slovak Republic between January 2023 and July 2023, which represents an increase of 15 611 detained foreigners in the comparable period of 2022. Within this trend of tremendous growth, illegal secondary transit migration from the Western Balkan route continues to dominate, recording an increase of 1,062.3 %, representing up to 16,934 detained foreigners.
The first measure is a change to the provision that requires the police department to issue a certificate of stay in Slovakia in specified cases to a third-country national who cannot be deported due to an obstacle to his/her administrative expulsion, which acts as a pull factor for irregular migrants travelling along the Balkan route. The new legislation proposes the possibility of issuing such a document, and such a document will no longer be issued to every foreigner, in particular to foreigners who are only migrating through the territory of the Slovak Republic to another country. This will make the Slovak Republic less attractive in terms of migration, which should reduce the number of illegal aliens.
The draft law also provides for when formal administrative expulsion proceedings will not be initiated. These are cases where the decision on administrative expulsion cannot realistically be implemented, for example because of obstacles to administrative expulsion. This measure will significantly reduce the number of administrative procedures and free up capacity to fight illegal migration.
After the outbreak of the emergency situation caused by the COVID-19 disease, an amendment to the Act on the Residence of Aliens was adopted, which in the provision of Section 131i(9) of Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on the Residence of Aliens and on Amendments and Additions to Certain Acts, as amended, postpones the execution of the decision on administrative expulsion of third-country nationals from our territory or from the territory of the Member States of the European Union for the duration of the emergency situation. It also provides that this postponement is not a ground for release from detention pursuant to Article 90(2)(b), first subparagraph, of the Act on the Residence of Aliens.
The above provision was introduced into the Act on the Residence of Aliens due to the restriction of travel or transfer of persons to third countries during the COVID-9 pandemic (mainly by air transport) and the related anti-pandemic measures, which prevented the execution of the decision on administrative expulsion to the countries of return. When this provision was introduced in the Aliens Residence Act, it was not possible to foresee how long the emergency situation would last.
The emergency situation associated with COVID-19 has not been lifted in the Slovak Republic to date, but the pandemic situation is currently favourable 2 and allows travel without restrictions. Hence the increased influx of foreigners into our territory and also the number of administrative expulsion decisions issued but not enforceable. For this reason, it is also inexpedient and ineffective to continue to delay the execution of administrative expulsion; therefore, as one of the measures, it is proposed to delete the provision in question from the Act on the Residence of Aliens.
The draft law does not foresee any impacts on the public administration budget, on the business environment, social impacts, environmental impacts, impacts on the informatisation of society, impacts on public administration services for the citizen, or impacts on marriage, parenthood and family.
The draft law is in accordance with the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, constitutional laws and rulings of the Constitutional Court, other laws and international treaties and other international documents to which the Slovak Republic is bound, and with the law of the European Union.