Dear Mr Minister Lázár,

It is a great honour that you have devoted so much time for the pursuits of Migration Aid from the last, festive Kormányinfó. Should we also regard it as a symbolic gesture?

For us it is paramount to keep our communication and relationships open and honest. We want to make the first step in this direction and summarize what we see as problems in the current status of immigration and asylum system. We not only point out what seems to be a problem, but also offer our help in finding a solution for it.

It isn’t necessary to task the state or conglomerate organizations with providing a solution for every problem of the citizens, including the provision and integration of refugees. We might agree to that an effective crisis management is based on a feedback mechanism between the provider and the customer. The Hungarian immigration and asylum system does’t allow any such thing.

The needs and problems of the refugees can only be seen and understood as a whole by those who keep an everyday contact with them. We deeply respect the social workers of the Hungarian authorities (BMH), who work on the field, and to their administrators, because we see they are trying to hold on in incredibly difficult circumstances. But we also see that in this hierarchy of many levels the problems they see and voice can easily disappear in the system, and the decision makers don’t receive any real information about the everyday troubles of the refugees.

We know that the member organizations of the Caritative Council receive significant financial support from the state to help out in the refugee care system as contractual partners of BMH. But here the problem stays the same: besides Red Cross there are 5 Christian organizations where the complex organizational structure produces lots of bureaucracy and slow decision making mechanisms. These organizations don’t want to and could not specialize in refugee care, because they take a huge part in a various fields of the Hungarian social and health care system. As there are only Christian organizations in this council, where the staff usually isn’t familiar with the culture and habits of Muslims, who make the majority of the refugees, and this often causes a lack of confidence.

If you really consider the integration and help of the refugees who received status in Hungary, please let these two things happen:

–  the NGOs specialized in helping refugees should be able to mentor the asylum seekers from the moment they hand in their request for a refugee status, and they should be able to offer humanitarian, mental health, educational, legal etc. help. It is in the interest of the whole society to let the refugee families, unaccompanied children and single men and women to receive uninterrupted support from arriving to the transit zones until settling into their permanent abodes from the same aid organizations, thus allowing them to form a confidential relationship, which is an essential requirement for a successful integration.

– The NGOs helping the refugees should be able to provide humanitarian aid for the so called application repeaters, who — by the laws made by you — don’t receive any provision since this spring. This is particularly problematic if the application repeater is in the transit, where he/she doesn’t have any chance to try to take care of himself/herself.

– People who were granted asylum should be allowed to stay in the state reception centres for a reasonable period. According to the latest changes in the regulations the foreigners who were granted status are moved to the reception centre in Vámosszabadi, which they are expected to leave in 30 days. This time is inexplicably short for the refugees to learn at least the basics of the language and to find job and shelter in the country. Since the reception centre in Kiskunhalas has been idle for months, this should not mean any more burden on logistics, because there’s no need to create a new centre for this reason.

It would also be very helpful in the current situation if the representatives of the government and governing parties didn’t mix these terms in their communications with the citizens, if they made clear distinctions between migrants and refugees, who are staying in Hungary legally, because these terms aren’t the same either in their content or in legal practice.

Migration Aid is ready to support in a coordinated way any pursuit to make the provision and integration of refugees more humane and efficient, with respect for the Hungarian people’s justifiable demand for security.

Best regards,
Andras Siewert
Migration Aid, Director of Operations