Thousands of foreign citizens from Ukraine arrive in Israel. Shortly after their arrival, they contact the units that handle requests for political asylum in Israel (the RSD unit of the Population and Immigration Authority) and apply for asylum. The goal of the vast majority of applicants is to regulate their status in Israel in order to receive a temporary permit that will allow them to work in Israel by virtue of the policy of non-enforcement while their request for asylum is being considered.
This practice places enormous strain on the system in general and specifically on the limited resources of the Refugee Status Determination unit, which extends processing time for all requests and interferes with the unit's ability to handle genuine, authentic requests for political asylum. In addition, the increase in applications submitted for political asylum means that it takes longer to process these requests. In other words, the more applications submitted, the longer it takes to process them, which increases the incentive to submit false applications and vice versa.
In February, the policy for handing requests for political asylum in Israel was modified (policy no. 5.2.001), and one of the additions defines an accelerated process for rejecting applications under certain conditions, when they are submitted by citizens of countries in which the professional opinion is that there is no reason not to safely return the citizens to those countries, when the Population and Immigration Authority determines that the accelerated process can be applied to citizens of these countries (see article 5.1 of the policy entitled Accelerated Procedure for Considering Applications). Experience with applying accelerated processes for asylum seekers from Georgia who arrived in Israel demonstrated the large number of false applications submitted, as applying the accelerated process dramatically reduced the number of requests for asylum submitted by Georgian citizens.
As instructed by the Minister of Interior, Arie Deri, the situation was evaluated in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the professional opinion submitted was that citizens of Ukraine can safely return to their country.
Therefore, the Population and Immigration Authority decided to apply the accelerated process for handling requests for political asylum that are submitted by citizens of Ukraine, due to lack of unique and unusual circumstances. As a result and at this time, due to the current situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk districts in Ukraine, and despite the fact that in general nothing prevents residents of these districts from living in other parts of Ukraine, requests for asylum that are submitted by residents of these districts will be submitted to the head of the Enforcement and Foreign Citizens Administration at the Population and Immigration Authority with a recommendation from the head of the unit or the supervisor of the unit (in the former's absence), who will also apply the accelerated process to decide on the status of these applications.