The Foreigner and International Protect Law approved by President Abdullah Gül on Wednesday introduces a new legal framework on migration, asylum and international protection in Turkey.
In connection to the law, an Immigration Administration General Directorate will be formed within the Ministry of Interior Affairs and will be tasked with applying all policies and strategies regarding immigration. The General Directorate will consist of a staff of 3,500 including its provincial and international organization. The legislation to establish this directorate will go into effect the day the law is implemented, whereas the remaining legislation will go into effect in one-year following the date the law is published.
According to the law, foreigners will not be sent back to countries where they could be subjected to torture, inhumane treatment, humiliating punishment or where their lives or fundamental rights and liberties are in threat due to their race, religion, political views or for being members of a certain community group. A six-month duration international protection applicant identification card will be issued to applicants. Those given refugee status will be issued identification cards for a three-year duration. Applicants or individuals who have been granted international protection status and their families will be able to benefit from education, social and health assistance services. Applicants or conditional refugees will be able to apply for work permits six months after the date they applied for international protection.
The law also ensures that foreigners subjected to comprehensive investigations while entering the country will only be forced to wait for four hours.
The decision to deport a foreigner will be based on the following criteria: "If they are a leader, member, supporter or involved with a terrorist organization, if they have falsified information or documents to obtain a visa or residence permit, if they have made their living while in Turkey through illegitimate means, if they constitute a threat to public order or safety, if they have overstayed their visa by over ten days or if their visa has been cancelled, if they have overstayed their residence permit by over ten days, if they have been employed without obtaining a work permit, if they have entered Turkey despite being permitted from doing so or if their residence permit application has been denied and they have not departed the country in the ten days following.
Foreigners who may be faced with the death penalty, torture, inhumane or humiliating punishment or treatment, or who are suffering serious health issue or their travel due to age or pregnancy puts them at risk or if they are victims of human trafficking who are benefiting from the victim support process will not be deported."
Turkish authorities will also be able to ban foreigners from entry for a period of up to five years. However, if they are seen as a serious threat to public order and security the ban can be increased to ten years.
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