Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority

Cyprus

Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 28/04/21

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website
Name in English Number of staff Ministry responsible Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision making in individual cases by the determining authority?
Asylum Service

EASO

53

74

Ministry of Interior  Yes

Source: Asylum Service

The Asylum Service, a department of the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for the first instance examination of asylum applications, including the examination of the Dublin Regulation criteria. In addition, the Asylum Service is responsible for the management of the reception centres (Kofinou and First Registration Pournara, in Kokkinotrimithia), as well as the overall coordination on issues related to asylum, asylum seekers, and persons under international protection. It is also the authority which issues relative regulations for this purpose. However, in practice, the Asylum Service has never taken up in full this coordination role and regulations have never been issued.

Beyond support staff, the Asylum Service includes the Director, 2 senior coordinators, 9 administrative officers, and 41 asylum officers recruited on 1–2-year contracts with the possibility of renewal under a four-year contract. Of the above, 23 officers work exclusively on the examination of asylum applications whereas the others work on other issues such as Dublin, unaccompanied children, trafficking and emergency arrivals, as well as statistics, tenders, and reception etc.

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has provided support to the Cyprus asylum system from 2014 onwards, through a series of measures, including deploying or recruiting caseworkers to address the backlog and backlog management. Throughout 2020, EASO deployed a total of 123 different experts in Cyprus across asylum and reception. The majority of them were caseworkers (62), followed by registration assistants (10), social workers (6) and a series of other support staff (e.g. operation staff, security staff, coordination staff etc.). As of 14 December 2020, a total of 74 EASO experts were deployed in Cyprus, out of which 31 were caseworkers.[1]

In most cases, the Asylum Service decides independently without interference from the Ministry of Interior. However, from time to time the Minister of Interior will have input in setting the policy for asylum seekers from specific countries of origin such as when there is an influx of asylum seekers from a country in conflict (i.e., Iraq, Syria). From mid-2019 onwards the Ministry of Interior had a sufficiently increased role in asylum issues including the countries determined to be safe. All the decisions taken by Asylum Service caseworkers and EASO case workers on asylum claims need to be confirmed by the Head of the Asylum Service.[2] In practice this is done on his/her behalf.

There is currently no formal quality assurance unit established at the Asylum Service. While discussions have started on establishing such a unit, they have been stalled due to a lack of capacity and discussions on the nature of the quality assurance work.  However, part of the responsibility introduced for team leaders is to monitor the consistency of decisions of junior staff.

[1]           Information provided by EASO, 26 February 2021.

[2]           ECRE, Asylum authorities: an overview of internal structures and available resources, October 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2xwLqdP.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation