On the 21st of September 2017 the Bulgarian government released a regulation about the restriction of the freedom of movement for registered asylum seekers in Bulgaria. The imposed limits are defined in perimeters for the asylum seekers who are registered in the refugee centers of Sofia (Voenna Rampa, Vrazhdebna, Ovcha Kupel), Harmanli, Pastrogor and Banya. Another rule was already approved one year ago to restrict the movement of asylum seekers within the open centers of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR).
The new statement imposes that asylum seekers who live in the refugee centers of Harmanli and Pastrogor are not allowed to leave the territory of the Haskovo district (without the border area), asylum seekers who live in Banya are not allowed to leave the Sliven district and asylum seekers who are registered in Sofia are not allowed to leave the territory of the city of Sofia.
The aim of the new rule is to gain more „administrative control“, one could read in the published statement of the Bulgarian government. Obviously this new rule was made to stop registered asylum seekers to leave the country. In the first seven month of 2017 a number of 2,140 foreigners was caught while trying to leave the country, mostly in the direction to Serbia. Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) assumes that the new rule will likely lead to more unregistered migration within and to Bulgaria in the future, if the situation for the asylum seekers inside the country itself won’t change.