Collaboration under the Dublin Regulation and reports of poor asylum reception conditions in Italy have left their mark on the cooperation between Italy and other European countries since long before the influx of asylum seekers to Europe took off in autumn 2015.

The Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) sent a delegation consisting of four board chairs, a head of section and two experts on a fact-finding trip to Italy and Malta already in November 2015.

The trip had a twofold competence-raising purpose. One aspect was to learn about increased immigration to Europe via the Mediterranean, and the other was related to UNE’s work on cases involving the provisions governing which cases can be considered on their merits in Norway. The delegation was also charged with obtaining information about the asylum system and reception conditions in Italy and on Malta, both for asylum seekers and for residence permit holders.

The delegation was to obtain information about the following issues/topics:

  • general immigration-related challenges associated with increased migration across the Mediterranean
  • arrival and registration procedures
  • how identities are established
  • what information asylum seekers have about the Dublin system and what information they are given about the Dublin procedure
  • how language barriers and interpreter assistance are dealt with
  • how applicants are offered legal assistance
  • information about reception conditions, accommodation arrangements for unaccompanied minors, families with young children and particularly vulnerable persons
  • which health services are available to asylum seekers
  • how long are the case processing times for applications for asylum, and how is the right of appeal, if any, practised
  • if an application is granted, which integration measures do the authorities implement
  • what is required to be granted permanent residence, and what are the rights and obligations of refugees who are granted residence.

You can read the whole report here.