Hungary to strip refugees and asylum seekers of government supports

March 7, 2016

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In a clear attempt to discourage refugees and asylum seekers from coming to Hungary, the Ministry of the Interior has proposed to modify government decrees related to migration and refugee affairs with regard to housing and government supports.

The interior ministry’s plans would change existing regulations concerning legal density limits of people in refugee housing. The minimum  volume of open air is to decrease from 15 to 6 cubic meters per person, and the minimum area from 5 square meters to 3 sqm in the case of males and 3.5 sqm in the case of women.

According to Index.hu, the new requirements conform to the area requirements allocated for inmates in Hungary’s overcrowded prison system. The proposal makes no secret of the fact that the goal is to ensure that the area allowed to refugee housing does not exceed that of prisons.

The 8 sqm allowed to couples with small children will not be changed.

Cutting off support

A more important aspect of the proposal is the ending of housing and schooling allowances.

“Following the [enactment of this] modification, neither asylum seekers, nor those enjoying international protections will be entitled to receive allowances,” reads the proposal.

Currently, asylum seekers housed at processing centers are entitled to receive HUF 7,125 (USD 25) per month.  The same amount is made available to small children, single parents, the elderly and those unable to work housed at the centers.   In the case of housed adults the monthly entitlement is a paltry HUF 2,850 (USD 10).

The proposal would also strip those granted political asylum of the right to receive unemployment benefits of HUF 22,800 (USD 80) a month or the one-time education allowance of HUF 28,500 (USD 100) for people up to the age of 21.

The Ministry of the Interior justifies its proposal on grounds that asylum seekers and refugees should have the same rights as Hungarian citizens. According to the proposal, it would come into force on April 1st and be applied to all subsequent cases.