Dublin

Cyprus

Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

 

 

Dublin

Dublin statistics: 2019

 

Outgoing procedure

Incoming procedure

 

Requests

Transfers

 

Requests

Transfers

Total

203

21

Total

143

1

Germany

48

1

Germany

35

0

United Kingdom

33

0

Czech Republic

24

1

France

23

1

France

17

0

Sweden

19

1

Greece

12

0

 

Source: Dublin Unit, Asylum Service

 

Application of the Dublin criteria

 

The applicant is interviewed by Dublin Unit officers of the Asylum Service and all documents and information are collected in collaboration with him or her. For unaccompanied minors, both the interview and family tracing is done in the presence and with the collaboration of the Social Welfare Service’s officers. Following this, the request is submitted via ‘DubliNet’ to the relevant Member State.

 

In practice, the evidential requirements that are needed to prove family links are mostly documents that prove familial relationship with the individual in question and are requested from the asylum seeker, such as identity documents, family registration documents, birth / marriage certificates, photographs, any documents available and, when necessary, DNA tests. The authorities conducting the Dublin procedure will apply the family provisions even if the asylum seeker has not indicated the existence of family members in another Member State from the outset.[1]

 

The criteria most frequently used in practice for incoming requests are previous applications for international protection and for outgoing requests, family unity for unaccompanied minors.

 

The dependent persons and discretionary clauses

 

The humanitarian clause may be applied when the other criteria are not applicable and humanitarian reasons arise, whereas the sovereignty clause may be applied when the transfer is not going to be implemented within the time limits for reasons not foreseen in the Regulation i.e. health issues.[2] No statistics have been shared by the Asylum Service on the application of such clauses.

Procedure

All asylum seekers applying for asylum aged 14 and over as well as their dependants, also aged 14 and over, are systematically fingerprinted and checked in Eurodac.[3] There is no specific policy in place for cases where applicants refuse to be fingerprinted, nor have there been cases to indicate practice.

 

The Dublin procedure is systematically applied in all cases;[4] when lodging an application for asylum, the applicant also fills in a Dublin questionnaire where he or she has to state any previous travel or any relatives present in another Member State. Should he or she have travelled through another Member State or have relatives present in one Member State, the Dublin Unit invites the applicant for an interview.

 

In 2018, the Asylum Service faced difficulties in issuing “take charge” requests for family reunification within the three-month deadline. In 2019 improvements were noted in issuing requests within the deadline.[5]

 

 Individualised guarantees

 

The Dublin Unit seeks individualised guarantees that the asylum seeker will have adequate reception conditions and access to the asylum procedure upon transfer to countries facing difficulties in their asylum systems.[6] Such guarantees are sought after the responsible Member State has agreed to take charge of / take back the applicant.

 

Transfers

 

When another EU Member State accepts responsibility for the asylum applicant, it takes on average three-six months (based on estimations from practical experience) before the applicant is transferred to the responsible Member State. Asylum seekers are not detained for the purpose of transfer, whereas the actual transfer takes place under supervision or when necessary under escort.

 

In 2016, Cyprus carried out 62 outgoing transfers. In 2017, it carried out 12 outgoing transfers, in 2018 15 outgoing transfers and in 2019 eight outgoing transfers were carried out.

 

Personal interview

The interview for the Dublin procedure is carried out by the Dublin Unit of the Asylum Service. These interviews are conducted in the same manner as the regular procedure, meaning that an interpreter is always available when needed and applicants can choose the gender of the interpreter and / or interviewer. It is also recorded in the same way as the regular procedure, meaning only a written transcript is produced as audio / video recording is not used (see section on Regular Procedure: Personal Interview).

 

The interview for the Dublin procedure focuses on determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection. For possible “take back” cases, questions focus on the applicants’ entry into other Member States prior to reaching Cyprus, whether or not they have applied for asylum in said countries and the reasons for applying, duration of stay along with specific dates of entry, reason for leaving the country. For family unity reasons, questions focus on whether the individual has family members in other Member States, as well the relationship with the individual in question, their relatives’ status in the country and whether they can obtain any documents proving the familial relationship. Applicants are also informed about the Dublin procedure, what it entails, the possibilities and effect on the case.[7]

 

Appeal

 

The procedure for appeals against Dublin decisions is identical to appeals in the regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Appeal), except for the suspensive effect of the appeal before the RRA. Whereas an appeal in the regular procedure before the RRA has automatic suspensive effect, in the case of an appeal against a decision in the Dublin procedure it does not suspend the decision, unless the RRA so determines.[8] According to information provided by the Asylum Service, the RRA has so far suspended all transfers until a decision has been issued on appeal. As in the regular procedure, a judicial review is available before the Administrative Court,[9] during which the applicant has a right to remain.

 

The majority of cases in Cyprus that may be transferred to other Member States are not challenged by asylum seekers, as the great majority of the cases are related to family unity reasons and their preference is to not remain in Cyprus.

 

Legal assistance        

 

There is no access to free legal assistance from the state before the Asylum Service and RRA during the Dublin procedure. However, such cases can be assisted by the free legal assistance provided for by NGOs under project funding, but the capacity of these projects is extremely limited (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). Legal aid is offered by the state only at the judicial examination of the Dublin decision before the Administrative Court.[10] The application for legal aid is subject to a “means and merits” test and is extremely difficult to be awarded (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). However, asylum seekers, as stated above, extremely rarely submit appeals against the Dublin transfer and as such no free legal assistance has ever been requested during the appeal procedure so as to have statistics on the matter.

 

Suspension of transfers

 

The majority of cases that fall under the Dublin procedure in Cyprus are requests from other Member States for Cyprus to take responsibility (“take back” requests) and seldom will an asylum seeker leave another Member State and come to Cyprus. In case a transfer is not possible within the time limits foreseen by the Dublin Regulation, Cyprus will assume responsibility for examining the asylum application and asylum seekers will have full access to reception conditions and all other rights enjoyed by asylum seekers.

 

There are no national court rulings on Dublin transfers.

 

The situation of Dublin returnees

 

Asylum seekers transferred back from another Member State whose final decision is pending are not detained. In the case they have no place on their own to stay, they are transferred to Kofinou Reception Centre, which is an open centre for asylum seekers.[11]

 

For asylum seekers transferred back from another Member State, if a final decision was not issued prior to them leaving Cyprus, the asylum procedure resumes where it was left off, whereas if a final decision was issued then deportation procedures are initiated.

 

No information is available as to whether requests sent to the Dublin Unit ask for the provision of individual guarantees for incoming transfers.

 

Only one person has been returned to Cyprus throughout 2019, compared to six persons in 2018, five persons in 2017 and four in 2016.

 


[1]Information provided by the Dublin Unit, October 2015. This practice remains valid as of 2017. Confirmed by cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[2]Ibid.

[3]Article 11A Refugee Law.

[4]Article 11B Refugee Law.

[5]Information provided by cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[6]Information provided by the Dublin Unit, July 2017.

[7]Information provided by testimonies of individuals who have undergone a Dublin interview.

[8]Article 11B(3) Refugee Law.

[9]Article 31Γ(3) Refugee Law.

[10]Article 68(8) Legal Aid Law.

[11]Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council which carries visits to Kofinou reception centre.

 

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