Forced migration legislation revised in Belarus

    Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed the law “Concerning the introduction of amendments and addenda to a number of laws of the Republic of Belarus on forced migration” which had been passed by the House of Representatives and approved by the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus.

    The provisions are aimed at optimizing the procedure of granting a refugee status, additional protection and asylum in Belarus, updating the legislation taking into account the practice of application and the requirements of international agreements which Belarus is party to.

    In particular, the procedure of granting an asylum is streamlined. There will be a single procedure of acceptance and consideration of pleas for the refugee status, additional protection and asylum in the Republic of Belarus. As a result, the period of consideration of such applications of foreigners willing to use Belarus’ protection will be reduced. As a rule, it will not exceed six months.

    Foreigners who have been given an asylum in Belarus will have the same rights as people with a refugee status.

    In accordance with the law, border protection agencies are authorized to accept pleas for a refugee status, additional protection or asylum in Belarus from foreigners crossing the Belarusian state border without corresponding permitting documents at border checkpoints.

    Besides, starting from 1 October 2017, the period during which organizations, rural tourism estates, and self-employed businessmen providing accommodation to foreigners temporary residing in Belarus will have to inform interior bodies about such foreigners will be reduced from 24 hours to three hours. This amendment aims to ensure national security and reveal people who are not allowed to arrive in Belarus, people on an international wanted list.

    Except for a number of provisions, the law will enter into force on 1 July 2017.