Hungarian Parliament votes on measures to manage refugees

Budapest , Sep 5 (IANS) Hungarian Parliament held a special session on Friday and voted on a number of measures to help manage the flood of refugees that have been pouring into Hungary from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other crisis regions.

The new law deals with the huge number of people who have to be registered under European Union regulations, Xinhua news agency reported.

Parliament has resolved to handle the registration in special procedures in “transit zones”, along the border or in Budapest, rather than waiting until the people are moved to less transient holding facilities.

Authorities will be required to decide on whether to accept asylum requests within eight days of application.

Courts will be able to invalidate such decisions and call for cases to be revisited.

Parliament has also exempted vehicles officially transporting refugees from paying highway tolls.

At the same time, it has declared illegally crossing the border, damaging the border fence, or preventing ongoing fence construction to be felony offenses. Under the new law migrants found in violation must be expelled from the country and also may be imprisoned beforehand.

Under these laws the people who organise people-smuggling rings will face 10 to 20 years imprisonment.

Parliament has also agreed that laws protecting arable land and the environment may be suspended to build emergency facilities to house refugees in crisis situations. The government has been given the authority to pass decrees allowing such construction.

The new laws will take effect on the day after they are promulgated, expected to be on or before September 15.

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