Alternatives to Detention in Bulgaria

Open Reception Centers

Bulgaria operates open centres where residents must request permission for any absence of longer than 24 hours. In-country applicants must register at the centres even if not residing there, and asylum seekers who do not require State support may live independently.

The centres are therefore intended more as a way of supporting destitute applicants than of ensuring compliance. Thus, in the decade between 1993 and 30 December 2003, 41.5% of asylum seekers in Bulgaria absconded and had their claims discontinued, a fact that can arguably be attributed to it being largely a ‘transit’ State during that period (with recognised refugees also disappearing west due to limited integration prospects).

Read more: Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Field and Edwards (2006) p. 31

Documentation for Asylum Seekers

A 1999 agreement to secure the release of registered asylum seekers protects them from being treated as illegal migrants and, at the end of 2003, the State Agency for Refugees established a mechanism for issuing identity documents on the day after registering the asylum application, which is expected to reduce the incidence of wrongful arrest. Field and Edwards (2006) p. 35

There are alternatives cover

Over the past five years, the IDC has undertaken a program of research to identify and describe a number of positive alternatives to immigration detention (‘alternatives’) that respect fundamental rights, are less expensive and are equally or more effective than traditional border controls.

This research, entitled There are alternatives, provides readers with the guidance needed to successfully avoid unnecessary detention and to ensure community options are as effective as possible.

This text was published in September 2015.