With 69 votes “for,” the Assembly this afternoon passed amendments to the Law on Asylum, with which immigrants are allowed to legally reside on the territory of the state for 72 hours, after which they will have to leave it or seek asylum.

The Assembly adopted the amendments by shortened procedure.

Democratic Alliance MP Pavle Trajanov said it was good that Macedonia provides conditions to accept immigrants and to avoid a humanitarian problem, but that should take into account the security aspect of this “humanitarian disaster for which EU and other countries are looking for solution.”

– It is good that immigrants will not be scattered across the whole country and will not pose a danger to the state. We will have exact control who entered the country – said Trajanov.

MP Solza Grcheva, who acts on behalf of the opposition, said that the law is a first step towards improving the situation of immigrants, but it still is not enough. She asked the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Gazi Baba to be closed due to poor conditions and other shelters to be opened.

In the explanation of the amendments, Interior Minister Mitko Chavkov stressed the need for them due to the large influx of immigrants with who Macedonia is facing, which, according to the minister, is several times increased compared to previous years.

As Chavkov said, the past days, Macedonian border services didn’t allow between 2,000 to 3,000 immigrants to cross the border and were returned to Greece, and around 25,000 people were registered close to our territory this period, who had intended to illegally enter the country.

– In the first five months of this year, the number of illegal immigrants who have entered the country has tripled compared to the same period last year. It demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. This problem did not originate from us, as a country, but in much of Greece, which is not doing enough about the situation, and there are even cases where it is turning a blind eye regarding it. It is impossible to hermetically close the border, but cooperation between the two countries on this issue, which is not yet high, is required – Chavkov said in the explanation of the amendments.

In the first five months of the year, Ministry of Interior registered around 1,250 illegal immigrants, 1,000 of who were accommodated in the Reception Center for Foreigners.