Macedonia sets 72-hour limit on migrants’ stay

New regulation in Macedonia dictates migrants passing borders can stay only 72 hours before being deported or requesting asylum

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Macedonia’s National Assembly changed the legislation for asylum and temporary protection on Thursday, enacting a new law which states that migrants passing through the country can stay a maximum 72 hours, after which they must leave or apply for asylum.  

Macedonia has become a major transit country for thousands of refugees and migrants who cross over from Greece and then continue into Serbia. 

At least 25 migrants have been killed by trains on railway tracks since January. Many others are robbed by criminals.

The new law will come into effect in eight days. The regulation allows migrants to apply for temporary asylum at the border or the nearest police station. 

Foreigners crossing the border or inside the country may, orally or in writing, express the intention to submit a request for recognition of the right to asylum to an authorised officer.

The police officer will then have to make a record of the foreigner so that he or she may submit a request for the recognition of the right of asylum to the competent authorities.

According to explanation of the regulation, changes have been made because of an increasing number of migrants transiting through the country, Minister of Internal Affairs Mitko Cavkov said.

Cavkov also added that 25,000 migrants came to the borders in a couple of weeks, adding that most of illegal migrants came from Greece.

In the comparison to the same period last year, the number of illegal migrants tripled, and it is predicted that the figure will rise much more.

According to the minister, the regulations will bring bigger security measures and will lower the risks of immigration. The ministry also will receive adequate records of persons entering the country.

Cavkov also stated that the ministry has spent 7 million Macedonian Denars (approximately 115,000 euros) on its budget for settlements and better physical conditions.

Macedonian Member of Parliament Silvana Boneva criticised the government for not collaborating with Greece to find a solution to reduce illegal migration and to increase security.

European Union members each have different measures for refugees and migrants.

France previously granted 20,640 refugees the right to remain in the country in 2014, and approximately 100,000 people have swept to shores of Europe since the beginning of 2015. The majority of migrants are from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.

Bulgaria is the first EU member state that built a fence along its border with Turkey in 2014, to prevent the millions of refugees taken in by Turkey from Syria and Iraq entering. 

Hungary also plans to build a four-metre high, 175 kilometre-long fence to stem the flow of illegal migrants from the Serbian border

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi recently invited other countries to take in some of the migrants while warning of a “Plan B that will wound Europe” by allowing migrants to cross the continent.

Around 60 million people were exiled by conflict in 2014, a rise of more than 8 million from 2013 - the highest ever increase in a single year.

This means that one in 122 people on the planet is a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum, Al Jazeera reported.

TRTWorld and agencies