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: 30/11/20

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

Determining authority

 

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

50

71

Ministry of Interior

 Yes  

 

Note: As mentioned in the text, 47 staff members were deployed during the period 1 January to 30 June 2019. 14 of the 47 staff members deployed during this period were Member States experts and 33 interim experts. There were no EASO staff and individuals deployed during this time. However, according to EASO, at the end of the year 71 staff members, including EASO staff, Member State experts, locally contracted personnel and interpreters were deployed to Cyprus.[1]

 

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 at 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, one senior coordinator, 11 administrative officers and 15 asylum officers recruited under a four-year contract. From the 26 officers, approximately half of them are caseworkers also dealing with other issues such as Dublin, unaccompanied children, trafficking, emergency arrivals etc. The other half are dealing with EU matters, statistics, tenders, reception etc.

 

In the course of 2018, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) deployed a total of 49 different experts in Cyprus, of which 12 Member State experts and 37 locally recruited (“interim”) experts.[2] At the end of 2018, 6 caseworkers supported the Asylum Service. Toward the end of the year, EASO initiated recruitment procedures to recruit interim officers locally for the examination of asylum applications in order to limit the number of caseworkers deployed from other EU Member States; the caseworkers took up duties in February 2019. According to statistics for the period 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019, 14 Member State experts and 33 interim experts had been deployed in Cyprus.[3] According to EASO’s 2020 Operating Plan, 25 caseworkers were employed in 2019 and this is expected to increase to 60 in 2020.[4]

 

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). There have rarely been cases where the Minister of Interior has inquired about individual cases and requested them to be given priority or special attention.

 

 


[1]EASO “Over 900 EASO personnel deployed in operations in four EU Member States”, 8 October 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/38VKWe8.

[2] Information provided by EASO, 13 February 2019.

[3] ECRE, The role of EASO operations in national systems: An analysis of the current European Asylum Support Office (EASO) Operations involving deployment of experts in asylum procedures at Member State level, 29 November 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3dcX6D0.

[4] EASO Operating Plan 2020, accessible at: http://bit.ly/382C6eI.

 

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