|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.14, 5.4.01, p4|
JUSTICE chief António Vitorino has unveiled detailed plans to give extensive employment, healthcare and education rights to asylum seekers in the EU.
The Commissioner says that all applicants and their family members should be provided with housing, food, clothing and a daily allowance.
He also proposed that they receive guaranteed access to health and psychological care and their children must start free schooling within 65 days after an asylum request has been lodged.
The Portuguese Commissioner also says that if a request takes more than six months to process then the member state must allow the applicant to take a job.
But in a carefully-worded compromise, Vitorino suggests EU governments should be allowed to lay down the conditions under which they can work: "Member states remain, therefore, in full control of the internal labour market, as they can decide the kind of work asylum applicants may apply for, the amount of time per month or per year they are allowed to work, the skills they should have, etc."
The planned minimum standards for asylum-seekers are likely to prove controversial; many member states are wary of appearing soft on applicants who abuse national social protection systems.
They are also worried about giving carte blanche to asylum-seekers to move freely around the country where they are claiming refuge.
In a compromise designed to smooth the procedure through the EU legislative process, Vitorino says local authorities would be allowed to restrict this in special circumstances.
His proposals go furthest in granting education rights to the children of asylum applicants, stating they should "have access to the education system under the same conditions as nationals up to the moment a deportation order against them or their parents can actually be enforced".
Healthcare would be free, unless the applicants can afford to pay for it themselves.
On accommodation, member states could provide reception centres, private accommodation or simply pay a rent allowance.
The total amount of the living allowance, in cash or vouchers, would have to be enough "to avoid applicants and their accompanying family members falling into poverty".
Justice chief António Vitorino has unveiled detailed plans to give extensive employment, healthcare and education rights to asylum seekers in the EU.
|Subject Categories||Justice and Home Affairs|