Israel faces surge in Mongolian asylum requests
Interior Minister Deri instructs Israeli Population and Immigration Authority to stop Mongolians from exploiting visa exemption laws to submit phony asylum applications; since June, dozens of Mongolian tourists have stayed Israel while claiming to be victims of political persecution.
The Israeli Population and Immigration Authority has registered a sudden surge in the number of requests made by Mongolians seeking asylum in the country.
Since the beginning of the year, 190 Mongolian tourists have visited Israel—an unexceptional figure—but since June, dozens of civilians have been submitting applications to the authorities to be granted refugee status.
Those responsible for assessing the applications have spotted a conspicuous pattern, with almost all of the Mongols claiming to be fleeing personal persecution on grounds of belonging to the opposition party in the country.
Also clear to the authority is that the applicants are well prepared and are aware of the right things to say to increase their chances of success. Notably, the vast majority of the requests are submitted through the same lawyer who is known for representing Georgians and Ukrainians in their bid to seek asylum in Israel.
According to the records of the Population Authority, more than 50 asylum applications have been submitted since the start of the year out of 190 tourists visiting Israel and the figure is on the rise every week.
So far, no request has been answered, and not a single Mongol has been evicted from the country. Nevertheless, the consequences are being felt in Israel due to the unusual influx of requests by what appear to be bogus asylum seekers.
Indeed, the Population and Immigration Authority is struggling to handle the accompanying increased paper work and is experiencing delays in dealing with genuine requests. Consequently, assessments can drag on for months, and in some cases more than a year.
Meanwhile, no applicant for asylum seeker status can be expelled from the country while it is being processed, meaning they are required to find work in Israel.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said that measures were being taken to stem the tide of applications and that he had already issued orders to prevent the Mongols from staying in the country.
“I have instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to fight in any way against this phenomenon in order to prevent a situation in which thousands of Mongols get to Israel and stay here to work and live,” Deri said.
If the pattern continues, Israel’s tourism policies with the East Asian country, whose residents are permitted to visit Israel without any visa, may be reconsidered and the visa exceptions may be removed.