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The section on the Reception of applicants for international protection picks up the line from Chapter 2 on the Trends in international protection in the EU+ and shows how EU+ countries reacted to these trends in terms of their reception capacity. The overview follows with the presentation some of the major legislative changes in 2018. The next thematic block focuses on developments in the overall organisation of reception, including redistribution and placement schemes and the changing types of reception facilities. The section then specifies efforts to improve the quality of material reception conditions through better coordination, monitoring, reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and staff training and notes the major new or remaining challenges that civil society organisation reported in this regard. The further details on the provision of reception conditions loosely follow the applicants’ path in chronological order and present developments regarding the entitlement to material reception conditions, changes in financial allowances, information provision and legal assistance in reception centres, freedom of movement, access to healthcare, applicant children’s education, access to labour market and language learning and socio-cultural orientation. The overview then notes some changes in the possibility to reduce or withdraw material reception conditions. The section finishes with legislative, policy and practice developments intended to strengthen security and enhance peaceful daily life within the reception facilities.

The reception of applicants for international protection has undergone many significant changes in the EU+ countries throughout 2018. New developments touched upon a wide variety of issues in legislation, policies, practices, case law developments and institutional transformation. While some countries significantly decreased their reception capacity, others had to continue efforts to increase the number of available places matching the increase in the number of applications at national level. The organisation of reception has been substantially re-shaped with the growing number of arrival centres throughout EU+ countries. Ensuring safety and conflict-free everyday life at the reception facilities have been of primary concern for many states and addressed this issue in various ways, including the amendment of internal rules and the establishment of specific reception facilities for applicants not respecting the rules. Many initiatives aimed at improving the quality of reception conditions: establishing better coordination among the various stakeholders, creating monitoring tools, carrying out renovations and repairs. Civil society organisations still identified major quality gaps in several EU+ countries. Courts were particularly active in shaping applicants’ reception rights, for example on the length of entitlement to material reception conditions or on the freedom of movement. Labour market access is typically further facilitated for applicants with good chances to be recognised, while language learning and social orientation courses have become obligatory in some cases for applicants as well.

Reception capacity remained at the centre of interest following the diverging number of arrivals throughout Europe. Austria, Finland, Italy and Sweden reported significant decrease in their reception places. However, the Finnish Immigration Service remained prepared and started its annual contingency training sessions in 2018. Belgium447 and the Netherlands had to significantly increase the number of available places in the second half of 2018, after initial plans to close several centres. The Czechia, France, Romania and Spain increased the number of available places and Bulgaria (establishment of a secure zone in the Registration and Reception Centre in Sofia) and Cyprus (Nicosia, Larnaka) opened up new and renovated facilities for UAM applicants. A new dormitory was built for vulnerable applicants in Lithuania. A new facility opened up in Portugal, while overall the number of places had not yet increased due to ongoing renovation works in other facilities. New facilities were planned to be constructed in Lithuania, Slovenia and Croatia (Mala Gorica).448 The coalition agreement in Luxembourg foresees an important increase in the number of places in reception in the forthcoming years. The Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health in Slovakia started the elaboration of the National Contingency Plan, building on the EASO guidance on the contingency planning in the context of reception.449 While many national authorities increased the number of available places as the number of applications increased, civil society organisations reported insufficient capacity in Belgium450, Cyprus451, France452, Greece453,  Ireland454, Portugal455 and Spain456 . The occupancy rate came close to 100 % in Belgium, the Czechia and Ireland. The Guardianship Service in Belgium reported issues to provide reception for UAMs in the evenings and on weekends and Fedasil used extra criteria to decide on immediate reception: about 200 UAMs who did not meet these criteria were refused reception towards the end of 2018. Applicants typically needed to arrange their own accommodation within their community in Cyprus.457 An NGO noted that open reception facilities closed down or often operated in a limited manner in Hungary, due to the fact that the majority of applicants were kept in the transit zones.458 Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Ireland highlighted that many of the occupants are recognised beneficiaries unable to move out from the reception centres to follow-up or mainstream accommodation. A civil society organisation from Portugal mentioned the same phenomenon.459

Many legislative changes shaped the area of reception of applicants for international protection in 2018. Ireland transposed the recast RCD into national law with the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 and Greece substantially amended its national legislation and aligned it with further provisions from the recast RCD. The new legislative framework in Italy completely reshaped the reception system. Applicants do not have any more access to the System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR), but they receive now material reception conditions with a limited scope in collective reception centres (CPA) or extraordinary reception centres (CAS). Accordingly, SPRAR has been renamed as System of Protection for beneficiaries of international protection and Unaccompanied Foreign Minors (SIPROIMI). The relevant legislation was substantially amended in Austria, Belgium and France: these changes are detailed later on in this section. The proposal for Bill no 7258 in Luxembourg would extensively amend the Law of 16 December 2008 on the reception and integration of foreigners in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - laying down the sanitation, safety, hygiene and habitation standards of reception centres of OLAI into national law – and the coalition agreement identified this reform as a priority in the coming years. 

The legal amendments in France revised the national redistribution scheme for applicants, with the objective to better distribute asylum applicants on the whole territory of the country, aiming to fix the number of applicants that each region has to accommodate with the help of a redistribution key based on socio-economic indicators (similarly to the German system). Applicants are re-oriented to another region when the maximum amount is reached within one region and they are informed about the fact that they are entitled to material reception conditions only in the newly designated region.460

Sweden modified its legal provisions on the placement on unaccompanied children applicants and the assigned municipalities can now only place a child in an accommodation in another municipality if an agreement is signed between the two municipalities prior to the placement, the placement is in accordance with the Act on special provisions on the care of young people or with the Social Services Act or in exceptional circumstances when the child’s care needs require so.461 Civil society organisations from Switzerland voiced their concerns about the Swiss allocation system, pointing out that it does not sufficiently takes into account other factors, like family and social ties, language and employment skills when assigning applicants to a specific canton.462

The overall organisation of reception had also been significantly reshaped due to the fact that the first step of the asylum procedure, Access to procedure, is more and more centralised with the establishment of arrival centres. New forms of reception facilities were created in Belgium (the reception centre Petit-Château / Klein Kasteeltje was transformed to a temporary arrival centre, pending the opening of the new arrival centre in Neder-over-Heembeek.), Cyprus (First Reception Centre in Pournaras near Nicosia), France (CAES, centres for reception and assessment of the situation, centres d’accueil et d’examen des situations, established now officially under the Law of 10 September 2018 and aiming to provide accommodation before applicants lodge their application and channel persons concerned to the appropriate housing system depending on their situation), Germany (AnkER Centres) and Spain (CATE, Centres  for  the  Temporary Reception  of  Foreigners, Centros  de  Acogida  Temporal  de  Extranjeros and CAED, Centres  for Emergency Reception and Referral, Centros de Acogida de Emergencia y Derivación). A government investigation report in Sweden proposed the establishment of arrival and departure centres and to limit applicants’ possibility to arrange their own accommodation, but the government has not yet followed up on these suggestions with concrete policy initiatives. The legislative amendments in Austria allows now the BFA to oblige applicants to reside continuously at a specific place (for example, in a reception centre or private housing) for certain legal reasons (public interest, public order) and for the swift processing of the asylum application.463

Some new developments occurred around the establishment of specific reception facilities for applicants who disturb the everyday life in the reception facility and whose behaviour is repeatedly offensive towards other inhabitants and the reception staff. The State Secretary for Justice and Security in the Netherlands announced that measures against such behaviour were going to be intensified, aiming to facilitate and speed-up the decisions to transfer an applicant to a reception centre with additional guidance and supervision (EBTL, extra begeleiding en toezicht lokatie). UAMs over 16 years can now also be transferred to these facilities with the approval of the relevant guardianship organisation (Stichting Nidos). The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) also entered into discussion with judicial authorities for a stronger cooperation on these dossiers and proposed their prioritisation in order to obtain a quick clarification of the respective applicants’ situation.464 Authorities were faced with similar issues in Switzerland, where the first special federal reception centre was established in les Verrières (Canton of Neuchâtel) for adult men applicants, whose behaviour perturbs the daily usual functioning of other reception centres or is of concern for public order or public security. An NGO from Austria reported about intensive public debate on this topic.465

The national legislative framework was amended concerning emergency structures in Belgium, where the Reception Act now also clarifies that in exceptional cases, applicants can be accommodated in emergency structures ‘only for a reasonable period for as short as possible’ (instead of the previous time limit of ten days) when there is a mass influx and the usual reception capacity is full. The law underlines now that applicants’ basic needs still need to be always met.

Many policy developments aimed at improving the quality of material reception conditions. The coalition agreement in Luxembourg pointed out specifically that the quality of reception conditions needs to be further enhanced and the new government moved the competency for reception to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs from the Ministry of Family and Integration, in order to ensure dignified reception with the establishment of one single point of contact for all aspects of the asylum procedure. The government in France established a new post, the inter-ministerial delegate responsible for the reception and integration of refugees under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior. A new operational scheme was introduced for the Reception and Accommodation Centre in Kofinou in Cyprus following the riots in February 2018 and the government set up a coordination mechanism including each relevant stakeholder to swiftly handle all issues concerning this reception centre.

Another set of initiatives targeted the improvement of the quality of reception through benchmarking and monitoring reception standards. EASO published a specific guidance establishing operational standards and indicators specifically for the reception conditions of UAM.466  The draft 'National Standards for accommodation offered to people in the protection process' was issued for public consultation in Ireland between August and October 2018. A civil society contributor highlighted that the new National Strategy on Immigration in Romania, published early 2019, set out within its goals the development of monitoring tool for reception.467 The Reception and Identification Service in Greece, in cooperation with other agencies, has been compiling material for establishing a Standards and Procedures Manual for the protection of vulnerable groups, victims of human trafficking and victims of gender-based violence residing in hotspots. The Management Board of Fedasil in Belgium approved the minimum standards for reception, including specific standards for vulnerable persons, which were drawn up by the Quality Unit of Fedasil in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders. The Reception Unit of the Finnish Immigration Service and the National Assistance System for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings had started to draft together specific guidelines for reception centres on the assistance of victims of human trafficking.

The legislative changes in Belgium also focused on the amelioration of the situation of vulnerable applicants in the context of reception. All groups of vulnerable persons mentioned in the recast RCD (non-exhaustive list) are now explicitly included in domestic law, as the the list of vulnerable persons enumerated in the Reception Act has been expanded. To the already listed persons, i.e. minors, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, victims of trafficking in human beings, victims of violence or abuse and the elderly, the following are now also added: persons with serious illness; persons with mental disorders, persons who have undergone rape or other serious forms of mental, physical or sexual violence, for example victims of female genital mutilation.  Fedasil is required to systematically assess the applicants’ special procedural needs. The criterion for assessing the child's best interest was further specified..468 Applicants in Hungary, whose gender identity is different from their biological sex registered, can request to be assigned to an accommodation based on their gender identity.

Several facilities were reported to be renovated throughout 2018: the special building for vulnerable applicants in the Registration and Reception Centre in Harmanli, Bulgaria, the reception facility in Zagreb, Croatia, several buildings belonging to the General Secretariat of Welfare in Greece (mainly aiming to provide accommodation for families with minor children and UAMs) and the reception centre in Dębak near Warsaw, Poland. The reception facility in Kofinou in Cyprus needed to be swiftly repaired following the violent incidents in February 2018. Lithuania reported important upgrades within its facilities both at the border and on its territory. Few supplementary medical and leisure time supplies were provided in the transit zones in Hungary. As described under the section Access to procedure, the majority of applicants remain in these transit zones and only few are accommodated in open reception facilities.

The European Commission granted emergency assistance to Cyprus, Greece and Spain to increase the overall reception capacity and improve the quality of material reception conditions.469

The quality of material reception conditions has still remained of great concern in Greece, both on mainland and on the islands. UNHCR has warned about the situation on several occasions throughout 2018 470, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe expressed his deep concern about the circumstances 471 and several civil society organisations alarmed about the overall poor living conditions.472 All of these actors expressed their special concern about the worrying situation of vulnerable applicants, including unaccompanied children and women.473 UNHCR stated at the end of 2018 that the situation was especially alarming in Moria, in Lesvos unaccompanied children shared shelter with adults, in Samos children needed to sleep in shifts as mattresses were lacking and overall homelessness and sexual harassment and violence was a major risk for all applicants both on the islands and on some mainland sites.474 The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights also identified the reception conditions in Greece a persistent challenge.475 Civil society organisations reported overall poor living conditions in reception facilities in Malta476 and the UK continued to be criticised for not providing sufficient privacy, security and safety in reception facilities, especially for women applicants.477 The Council of Europe Special Representative of the Secretary General in migration and refugees pointed out specifically the poor conditions in the Spanish reception facilities in Melilla and Ceuta, while praising the reception conditions on the mainland.478 UNHCR reported remaining concerns about the reception of applicants in Cyprus, despite some improvements in the second half of 2018.

Training for reception staff seems to have been organised mainly on the working methods with vulnerable applicants. Employees received training on the reception of UAMs for example in Belgium, Croatia, the Czechia, Italy and UK, and trainings were organised on the identification and reception of victims of human trafficking for example in Finland, Hungary and the Netherlands. The Dutch COA - in cooperation with the Coordination Centre for Human Trafficking, the Red Cross, the Dutch Council for Refugees - has recently developed an e-learning module on the identification of human trafficking and it has also created - in cooperation with the national Coordination Centre for Human Trafficking, the Expertise Centre for Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling, the Centre of Expertise on Aliens, Identification and Human Trafficking and Jade Zorggroep - a training course in the recognition of signs of human trafficking and human smuggling, allowing for the swift detection of both the perpetrators and the victims.

Some countries reported developments touching upon the length of the entitlement to reception. The starting point of the entitlement was clarified in Belgium, where the Reception Act now specifically states that every applicant for international protection is entitled to material reception conditions from the moment of making the application for international protection. Material reception conditions in France are now subject to the applicant’s acceptance of the proposed accommodation or, when relevant, the identified region of orientation. Material reception conditions can be withdrawn when the applicant does not accept the proposed accommodation, when the applicant fails to comply with the requirements of the authorities responsible for asylum, or when the applicant has submitted several asylum applications under different identities.479 An instruction of the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security in Spain clarified that Dublin returnees are also entitled to reception.480 The amendment of the Act No 305/2005 Coll. on Social and Legal Protection of Children and on Social Guardianship in Slovakia allows UAMs after coming of age to request that their stay in the foster home is extended after the end of institutional care until the age of 25. The Swedish Migration Agency made a change to its practice regarding the right to housing and financial support for persons who have been granted a temporary residence permit (for example, due to impediments to the enforcement of return), following a judgement by the Administrative Court of Appeal:480 these persons remain entitled as long as their temporary permit is valid. One NGO from Spain indicated that applicants face considerable delays in accessing material reception conditions due to the fact that they are not referred to a reception centre until their application is lodged, which process was severely delayed at the end of 2018.481 The Ombudsman of Spain confirmed this finding and further added that due to the delays the entitlement to reception often ends before the end of the asylum procedure.482 Several civil society organisations noted similar concerns in the Ile-de-France region in France, where applicants could only obtain with great difficulties a first appointment at the SPADA for making their application: the call centre was often saturated.483

One country reported changes in its rules on applicants’ contribution to the costs of material reception conditions. The BFA in Austria is now authorised to seize any cash in the applicants' possession up to EUR 840 per person, allowing applicants' to retain in cash maximum EUR 120 per person.484

Only three countries reported an increase in the amount of financial allowance. The monthly allowance in Cyprus raised from EUR 40 to EUR 100 per applicant and from EUR 10 to EUR 50 for dependants. However, this amount is typically still not enough to cover for example for rent, and applicants are at increased risk of homelessness.485 The weekly rate of the Daily Expenses Allowance (formerly called a Direct Provision Allowance) in Ireland increased to EUR 29.80 for children and EUR 38.80 for adults from 25 March 2019 486.  This brings the allowance up to the level recommended by the McMahon Report on Improvements to the Protection Process including direct provision and supports to asylum seekers, published in 2015.487 The financial allowance slightly increased in the UK from GBP 36.95 to GBP 37.75 per person per week. Save the Children Sweden noted that the financial allowance was not adjusted to inflation since the nineties and that the calculation rules are especially unfavourable to families with more than two children.488 The Decree of 28 December 2018 in France introduces the possibility of using a payment card to pay the asylum seeker's allowance. 

Some specific developments touched upon information provision and legal assistance in reception centres. Fedasil in Belgium has started to develop a comprehensive digital multilingual information tool, complementing already existing tools, e.g. voluntary return information material, that will provide correct and official information to applicants about the asylum procedure, the reception conditions and life after reception (return and integration into society). One of the objectives of the establishment of the AnkER Centres in Germany was the enhancement of the provision of information and strengthening of legal counselling, including counselling concerning an eventual return for persons likely to receive a negative decision. This latter point raised worries from UNHCR, that highlighted that return counselling should be reserved only after a final decision had been made.489 The ONE project in Finland runs until 2020 and  aims for the further development of general legal counselling and information sharing in reception centres. 

The issue of applicants’ freedom of movement brought about legal proceedings in two countries. The Council of State in Greece annulled the Decision of the Director of the Asylum Service dating from 1996, which imposed geographical restrictions on applicants on the islands of Lesvos, Rhodes, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos after 20 March 2016, due to an inadequate legal reasoning.490 The Director of the Asylum Service re-issued a new decision 491 a few days after the annulment, re-imposing the restrictions, with the explicit exception of vulnerable applicants and Dublin cases. The High Court of Justice in Spain issued several judicial orders underlining that applicants’ freedom of movement cannot be restricted once the applications are admitted to processing and they can move from Ceuta or Melilla to another place on the entire national territory.492

AMIF co-funded projects enhance applicants’ access to healthcare in Croatia, Cyprus and Finland. The occupants of the Reception and Accommodation Centre in Kofinou in Cyprus now receive health care and psychosocial support in a systematic manner. The TERTTU- project in Finland develops improved methods for initial medical screening and check-up. UNHCR493 and several civil society organisations alarmed about the lack of medical services in Greek reception facilities.494 Médecins sans Frontières needed to step in to cover for the crucial gaps in health care provision for example in Fylakio and Moria495.  Even when medical staff visits reception facilities, interpretation seems not to be available and doctors risk misdiagnosing patients.496 The Greek Ministry of Labour issued a circular to facilitate the issuance of social security numbers, but applicants are still frequently requested to present additional elements, significantly delaying their access to health care.

Not many legislative, policy and practice changes had a major impact on applicant children’s education, but Germany has significantly facilitated young children’s access to day care. The Act on Good Early Childhood Education and Care (Gute-KiTa-Gesetz) provides for reduced day care fees for parents receiving benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. The government of Norway also extended the scope of free kindergarten education and the government of Finland launched a pilot project with the same objective, providing enhance access also to applicants’ children in pre-school age. The situation has also considerably improved since the beginning of the year in the Reception and Accommodation Centre in Kofinou in Cyprus, where AMIF co-funds customised educational activities for pre-school and school aged children, including language learning, art lessons and afternoon study programmes. Irish universities offered in total 31 scholarships for applicants, while the education system in Poland now provides for preparatory classes for foreign children in compulsory school age, benefitting applicant children as well. The new government’s coalition agreement in Luxembourg highlighted the importance of applicant children’s access to integrated education. A civil society organisation noted the difficulties that UAM have in accessing education in Malta, due to delays in the registration of their application497, despite the recent general improvement in the provision of education for applicant children through the work of the Migrant Learners’ Unit of the Ministry for Education and Employment. Another civil society contributor from Sweden noted that children’s education was frequently disrupted as families had to often moved from one facility to the other due to the fact that the Swedish Migration Agency closed several facilities throughout 2018.498 

Further initiatives foresaw the facilitation of applicants’ access to labour market, but some countries introduced a few restrictions as well. The transposition of the recast RCD meant a major change in Ireland, where applicants have now access to the labour market after nine months from the date when their application was lodged, if they have not yet received a first instance recommendation from the International Protection Office, and if they have cooperated with the process. However, one civil society organisation underlined that employers often still do not recognise the official documents granting applicants the permission to work and refuse to employ them.499 A specific group of applicants can obtain a temporary work permit pending a final decision in Norway. These persons, who are highly probable to obtain a temporary residence permit in Norway, participate already in activities promoting integration and no doubts are raised about their identity (even if they cannot present a genuine passport or national identity card). A skills and qualifications mapping measure was also fully implemented for applicants, after an initial pilot phase that had been running since 2016. The waiting period to access the labour market was reduced to one month in Cyprus, from the previous six months. Still, one NGO highlighted that this provision had not yet been implemented in early 2019 and it has led to increased administrative burden for applicants to access material reception conditions, as the changes now oblige applicants to register with the Labour Office and start actively seeking employment after one month.500 The waiting period to access the labour market was also reduced in France from nine months to six months from submitting the application. Applicants in Belgium do not need to obtain a separate work permit since 1 January 2019, the fact that they have a right to work is noted on their temporary residence permit.501 A civil society input provider noted that this is still an issue in France, and the fact that applicants have to obtain a work permit significantly limits their access to the labour market in practice.502 The Ministry of Social Security and Labour in Lithuania launched the initiative to prepare the necessary legislative amendments allowing applicants to obtain work permits. The OSAKA-project, running until 2020 in Finland, develops work and study activities for applicants and facilitates their skills recognition. The coalition agreement in Luxembourg also foresees more activating measures for applicants, including the facilitation of access to labour market. Austria has made several adjustments. Applicants admitted to the regular procedure can now be employed after three months through service vouchers as well, but the required registration is reported to be rather burdensome.503 However, applicants under 25 years are no longer entitled to get a work permit for an apprenticeship in a shortage occupation, and applicants’ employment with NGOs is also further restricted.504 The Austrian Federal Court delivered a judgement relevant to applicants’ entitlement to work and stated that applicants should indeed have effective access to the labour market based on the provisions of the recast RCD.505 Switzerland has also introduced some restrictions: from 1 March 2019 applicants residing in federal reception facilities are not allowed to engage in gainful employment.506

Some countries offer now language learning and socio-cultural orientation for applicants as well. The Aliens Law Amendment Act in Austria introduced that language courses can be approved to applicants whose identity is established, have been admitted to the asylum procedure and are highly likely to be recognised (based on asylum statistics from the previous year). The 175 hours of language training and 50 hours of social studies in Norway have become mandatory for applicants above 16 years, residing in a reception centre. The training is offered free of charge and the municipalities hosting reception centres are under the obligation to offer the courses. Families with children and unaccompanied minor applicants without a documented identity now also have the right and obligation to participate in these courses. The second phase of the Guided Integration Trail (PIA, Parcours d’Intégration Accompagné) was launched in Luxembourg for applicants who have finished the first phase, involving compulsory language courses and information sessions on everyday life in the country. So-called Wegweiserkurse were piloted in the AnkER Centres in Germany, including 15 hours of instruction provided by a cultural mediator in the participants’ native language. Applicants with the right to access the labour market can also enrol in job-related language courses, further outlined in the section on the Content of protection. Language classes, as part of the integration programme, German-speaking Community became mandatory for certain groups of applicants in the German-speaking Community in Belgium. The Brussels Capital Region introduced similar changes, which have not yet entered into force. The hours of the mandatory French language course were extended in Wallonia, having an impact again on a certain specific group of applicants. These developments are also further detailed under the Content of protection section.  

Following the substantial legal amendments in Belgium, the Reception Act now provides for the possibility to reduce or withdraw material reception conditions in all cases defined by the recast RCD. Fedasil's decision needs to be motivated individually in fact and in law and should take into consider the specific situation of the person concerned and the principle of proportionality. It is clarified that the reduced material reception conditions should still guarantee a dignified living standard for the applicant, which is not defined as a fixed standard: Fedasil needs to assess this case-by-case.507 ECRE published a relevant analysis considering whether withdrawing or reducing reception conditions can be considered an appropriate, effective and legal sanction in various national legal frameworks.508

Several legislative, policy and practice developments intended to strengthen security and enhance peaceful daily life within the reception facilities. Two long-awaited pieces of legislation entered into force in Belgium on 1 October 2018: the relevant Royal Decree lays down detailed rules for performing announced and unannounced room checks509, while the corresponding Ministerial Decree establishes the house rules for the reception facilities, including the rights and obligations of the residents and the sanctions for breaching the house rules.510 The Cabinet Regulations on the Internal Rules of the Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers were amended in Latvia allowing for the inclusion of additional information in the accommodation centre's control system, such as fingerprints for applicants above 12 years and digital ID photos.511 The Office of Citizenship and Migration also installed a video surveillance and access control system in the accommodation centre. A law amendment allows the director of the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency (OLAI) or the delegate to request the assistance of the police if an applicant or their family refuses to be transferred to another structure in a violent or threatening manner.512 The police in Norway has been given the permission to reply to requests for detailed information about residents in asylum reception centres and care centres to provide specific information, if necessary, without prejudice to the principle of confidentiality.513

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447 From August 2018, reception inflow was superior to outflow in reception centres, due to an increase in numbers of applications but also in applications processing time. Occupancy rate in reception structures rose significantly. 
             In September 2018, the former State Secretary agreed to postpone the closing of some temporary centres as decided in the framework of reception downsizing plans. Late 2018, the new Minister approved the opening of 1,500 reception places.
448 However, the Croatian Ministry of the Interior underlined that the responsible authority for AMIF annulled the relevant decision on the allocation of funds on 24 May 2019 and the city council of Petrinja denied the permission for the construction. Thus, the financial sources were reassigned for the enhancement of the capacities of the two available reception facilities

449 EASO, EASO Guidance on Contingency Planning in the context of Reception.
450 Refugee Rights Europe, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
451 AIDA, Country Report Cyprus, 2018 Update, p. 11.
452 Forum Réfugiés – Cosi, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018, contribution not disclosed; Refugee Rights Europe, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.; AIDA, Country Report France, 2018 Update. p. 83.
453 DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; Refugee Rights Europe, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update.
454 AIDA, Country Report Ireland, 2018 Update,p. 59.
455 AIDA, Country Report Portugal, 2018 Update.
456 Fundación Cepaim, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; Ombudsman of Spain, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
457 AIDA, Country Report Cyprus, 2018 Update, p. 68.
458 Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; AIDA, Country Report Hungary, 2018 Update.
459 AIDA, Country Report Portugal, 2018 Update.
460 FR LEG 01: Law of 10 September 2018.
461 SE LEG 02: Law (2018:346) amending the Law on the reception of asylum seekers and others.
462 Asylex, Switzerland, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; AIDA, Country Report Switzerland, 2018 Update, p. 71.
463 AT LEG 01: FrÄG 2018, Aliens Law Amendment Act 2018.
464 Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, Parliamentary Papers (Kamerstukken) II, 2018-2019, 19637, nr. 2446.
465 Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
466 EASO, EASO Guidance on reception conditions for unaccompanied children: operational standards and indicators.
467 Migrant Integration Center – Brasov, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
468 BE LEG 02: Law of 21 November 2017, amending the Asylum Act and the Reception Act.
469 European Commission, Migration and borders: Commission awards additional €305 million to Member States under pressure; European Commission, Migration: Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece.
470 UNHCR, UNHCR urges Greece to address overcrowded reception centres on Aegean islands;  UNHCR, UNHCR urges Greece to accelerate emergency measures to address conditions on Samos and Lesvos; UNHCR, Thousands of asylum-seekers moved off Greek islands; UNHCR, Fact sheet, Greece, 1-31 December 2018.
471 Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Report of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatovic following her visit to Greece from 25 to 29 June 2018.
472 For example: AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update; DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; Amnesty International, Greece: Open letter following visit of Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International to Lesvos island and Moria refugee camp; Amnesty International, “The voices of refugee women need to be heard”; Human Rights Watch, Greece: Inhumane Conditions at Land Border.
473 For example: AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update; DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018; Amnesty International, Greece: Open letter following visit of Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International to Lesvos island and Moria refugee camp; Amnesty International, “The voices of refugee women need to be heard”; Human Rights Watch, Greece: Inhumane Conditions at Land Border.
474 UNHCR, Fact sheet, Greece, 1-31 December 2018.
475 FRA, Update of the 2016 FRA Opinion on fundamental rights in the hotspots set up in Greece and Italy.
476 AIDA, Country Report Malta, 2018 Update.
477 AIDA, Country Report United Kingdom, 2018 Update.
478 Council of Europe, Despite challenges in managing mixed migration Spain should guarantee effective access to asylum also in Melilla and Ceuta.
479 LEG FR 01: Law of 10 September 2018.
480 AIDA, Country Report Spain, 2018 Update, pp. 34, 54.
481 Fundación Cepaim, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.

482 Ombudsman of Spain, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
483 See the emergency action initiated by these civil society organisations: FR Tribunal Administratif de Paris, No. 1902037/9.
484 AT LEG 01: FrÄG 2018, Aliens Law Amendment Act 2018.
485 AIDA, Country Report Cyprus, 2018 Update, p. 63.
486 Citizens Information, Budget 2019.
487 Department of Equality and Justice, Working Group on the Protection Process, Working Group to report to Government on improvements to the protection process, including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers.
488 Save the Children (Sweden Office), Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
489 UNCHR Germany, Recommendations on the planned AnkER centres (in German).
490 ECLI:EL:COS:2018:0417A805.17E2806
491 EL LEG 04: Decision No. 8269.
492 ECLI:ES:TSJM:2018:10745
493 UNHCR, UNHCR urges Greece to address overcrowded reception centres on Aegean islands
494 AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update; DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
495 AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2018 Update; MSF, Greece; DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
496 DRC in Greece, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
497 AIDA, Country Report Malta, 2018 Update, p. 53.
498 Save the Children (Sweden Office), Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018.
499 AIDA, Country Report Ireland, 2018 Update.
500 AIDA, Country Report Cyprus, 2018 Update.
501 Applicants in Belgium may have access to the labour market four months after submitting their application for international protection, if they have not yet been served with a negative decision of the CGRA.

502 Forum Réfugiés-Cosi, Input to the EASO Annual Report 2018, contribution not disclosed.
503 AIDA, Country Report Austria, 2018 Update.
504 AIDA, Country Report Austria, 2018 Update.
505 AIDA, Country Report Austria, 2018 Update.
506 AIDA, Country Report Switzerland, 2018 Update.
507 BE LEG 02: Law of 21 November 2017, amending the Asylum Act and the Reception Act.
508 ECRE, Withdrawal of reception conditions of asylum seekers. An appropriate, effective or legal sanction?
509 BE LEG 05: Royal Decree of 2 September 2018 laying down the regime and the operating rules applicable to the reception facilities and the modalities concerning room inspections.
510 BE LEG 06: Ministerial Decree of 21 September 2018 to establish the house rules for reception facilities.
511 LV LEG 02: Cabinet Regulations No. 734.
512 LU LEG 01: Law on the Grand Ducal Police.
513 NO LEG 02: Act of 20 April 2018, Amending the Immigration Act.