Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 09/05/24


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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 160 Ministry of Interior  Yes

Source: Asylum Service.

The Asylum Service, a department of the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for the first instance determination of asylum applications, including the examination of the Dublin Regulation criteria. Pursuant to the latest amendments to the Refugee Law, the Asylum Service is entitled to issue a return decision together with a negative decision in a single administrative act. The Asylum Service also offers the applicant the option of voluntary return to their country of origin. If no response is received by the rejected applicant about voluntary return or request for assisted voluntary return, then the return decision is referred to the Aliens and Immigration Unit (AIU) who is in charge of execution of return decisions and deportation orders. The Asylum Service is also responsible, per the Refugee Law, for the operation of reception and accommodation centres for asylum seekers, as well as for coordinating all other competent authorities on asylum issues.[1]

In 2023, in addition to the support staff, the Asylum Service includes the Head of the Asylum Service, 6 Administrative Officers A’ and 9 Administrative Officers. 53 asylum officers were recruited in 2022 on one-year contracts, with the possibility of a one-year renewal until the project’s completion. In 2023, 52 additional asylum officers were recruited on one-year contracts, with the possibility of a one-year renewal. Of the above, approximately 76 officers work exclusively on the examination of asylum applications while the others work on other issues such as the implementation of Dublin Regulation, statistics, tenders, and reception etc.

The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA)[2] has been providing support to the Cyprus asylum system since 2014, through a series of measures, including deploying or recruiting caseworkers to address the backlog and backlog management. The 2022-2024 operational plan was amended twice, to take into account the changes in the operational context in light of the invasion of Ukraine.[3] Throughout 2023, the EUAA deployed 222 experts in Cyprus,[4] mostly external experts (168). The majority of them were case experts (55); asylum second instance support experts (19); asylum registration experts (13); asylum second instance support experts (13); vulnerability experts (9); and a series of other support staff (asylum and/or reception operations experts, senior case experts, registration experts, etc.).[5]

As of 19 December 2023, a total of 149 EUAA experts were deployed in Cyprus, out of which 33 were case experts; 16 asylum second instance support experts; 10 asylum registration experts; 8 asylum and/or reception statistics experts; and 8 junior asylum flow management experts.[6]

Up until 2019, the Asylum Service made decisions independently without interference from the Ministry of Interior. However, from time to time, the Ministry of Interior would 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 has played a major role in asylum issues, including the determination of the countries to be included in the safe countries list. All the decisions taken by Asylum Service caseworkers and EUAA case workers on asylum claims need to be confirmed by the Head of the Asylum Service[7] or a case worker authorised by the Minister of Interior.[8] In practice, all cases are confirmed and signed off by senior caseworkers with such authorisation who are not actively involved in working on the case.

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] EASO, Operating Plan 2022-2024 agreed by the European Asylum Support Office and Republic of Cyprus, December 2021, available at:

[2] It should be noted that Regulation 2021/2023 entered into force on 19 January 2022, transforming EASO into the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA).

[3] EUAA, Operational Plan 2022-2024 agreed by the European Union Agency for Asylum and Cyprus, available at: 

[4] Out of 222 experts deployed in Cyprus in 2023, 1 person was deployed under two different types of contracts. In addition, EUAA personnel numbers do not include deployed interpreters by the EUAA in support of asylum and reception activities.

[5] Information provided by the EUAA, 26 February 2024. In the figures above, the same persons may have been included under different profiles, if a change of profile took place in the course of 2023.

[6] Information provided by the EUAA, 26 February 2024.

[7] ECRE, Asylum authorities: an overview of internal structures and available resources, October 2019, available at:

[8] Article 2, Refugee Law.

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