|Name in English
|Number of staff
|Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision making in individual cases by the determining authority?
|Department for international protection procedure
|Ministry of Interior
|Reception Centre for applicants for international protection in Zagreb and Kutina
|Ministry of Interior
Following the entry into force of the amendments of the Decree on the internal structure of the Ministry of Interior in March 2019, changes have been introduced to the internal organisation of the Ministry of Interior. Asylum matters are now under the responsibility of the Directorate for immigration, citizenship and administrative affairs, under which the Sector for foreigners and international protection is divided into following organisational units dealing with asylum matters:
- Service for international protection
- Department for international protection procedure
- Department for Dublin procedure
- Department for integration
- Service for reception and accommodation of applicants for international protection
- Reception centre for applicants of international protection in Zagreb
- Reception centre for applicants of international protection in Kutina
The Department for international protection procedure of the Ministry of Interior is an administrative authority responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance. In September 2020, a new Decree on the internal structure of the Ministry of Interior entered into force, and was amended in 2022. The same organisational units were responsible for asylum related matters in the course of 2022.
In 2021, eight new staff members were employed by the Service for International Protection Procedure and, at the beginning of 2022, a new vacancy was announced for three more positions in the Department for International Protection Procedure. Two new employees were also employed in the Department for Dublin Procedure. An internal workflow for staff responsible to conduct procedures and take decisions was prepared. The workflow includes all procedures relating to administrative proceedings in international protection procedure. The employees of the Service for Reception and Accommodation and the Service for International Protection participated in over 50 seminars, conferences, webinars, lectures and educational workshops in 2021. The employees of the Service for the Reception and Accommodation of Applicants, which is responsible for managing reception centres for applicants for international protection in Zagreb and Kutina, attended different workshops in the field of reception and accommodation, with special emphasis on the reception of persons with special reception and procedural guarantees in the course of 2021.
In 2022, employees of the Service for International Protection, attended two national workshops organized under the curriculum of European Agency for Asylum (EUAA). Furthermore, 13 employees of the Service for Reception and Accommodation attended various workshops in the field of reception and accommodation with special emphasis on the vulnerable groups in need of special reception/procedural guarantees (e.g. unaccompanied children, GBV survivors). Workshops were organized by EUAA, UNHCR, Council of Europe, UNICEF, Croatian Red Cross, Frontex, Judicial Academy and State school for public administration.
According to the Ombudsman’s report for 2022, due to the high number of applicants for international protection and the complexity of the asylum procedure, it would be necessary to increase the number of officials who conduct procedures and prepare decisions.
Croatia has a single procedure for international protection. The Department for international protection procedure examines whether the applicant fulfils the eligibility criteria for refugee status and, failing that, subsequently examines whether the applicant is eligible for subsidiary protection. The civil servants working in the Department for international protection procedure conduct interviews with applicants for international procedure and, on the basis of all the relevant facts and circumstances arising from the application, the applicant’s position and personal circumstances (including sex and age) based on the testimony presented during the interview, the evidence submitted and available country of origin information, as well as the activities of the applicant after leaving the country of origin to assess whether these activities might expose him/her to persecution or serious harm if they are returned to that country, issue a decision on the application for international protection. The existence of an internal protection alternative in the country of origin, and the possibility for the applicant to obtain the protection of his or her alleged country of nationality, are also considered when taking a decision.
When deciding on the credibility of the applicant’s statements, the person conducting the procedure should abide by the principle of the benefit of the doubt.
As far as the Croatian Law Centre is aware, the Head of the Department for international protection procedure reviews all decisions in order to ensure the quality of decisions.
 This Sector further includes unites responsible for other migration-related matters e.g. citizenship, legal residence of foreigners, visas etc.
 Amendments of Decree on the internal structure of the Ministry of Interior, Official Gazette 7/2022 available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3n6iDGG; Amendments of Decree on the internal structure of the Ministry of Interior, Official Gazette 149/2022 available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3TCOKKi.
 Croatian Law Centre: The Croatian Asylum System In 2021 – National Report, The report was prepared as part of the project “Access to the territory and the asylum system in Croatia – legal support and capacity building” with the financial support of the UNf the UNHCR; available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3NgBDfc and in English at: https://bit.ly/3NBvVpC.
 Croatian Law Centre, The Croatian Asylum System in 2022 – National Report. The report was prepared as part of the project „Legal Assistance and Capacity Building for Access to Territory and Asylum in Croatia“, with financial support of the UNHCR Croatia: available in English at: https://bit.ly/434T7RL.
 Articles 27 and 28 LITP.
 Article 29 LITP.