Dublin

Cyprus

Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 12/04/21

Author

Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

General

Dublin statistics: 2020

Outgoing procedure Incoming procedure
  Requests Transfers   Requests Transfers
Total 100 47 Total 102 2
Take charge 93 45 Take charge 26 1
Denmark 1 0 Austria 6 1
France 3 2 Belgium 4 0
UK 57 16 Bulgaria 3 0
Finland 25 22 Croatia 3 0
Sweden 4 2 Czech Republic 1 0
Ireland 1 1 France 1 0
Netherlands 2 2 Germany 4 0
Sweden 4 0
Take back 7 2 Take back 76 1
Austria 1 0 Austria 4 1
Greece 1 0 Belgium 3 0
Sweden 1 0 Denmark 4 0
UK 2 1 France 32 0
Germany 2 1 Germany 21 0
Greece 3 0
Italy 1 0
Romania 1 0
Sweden 1 0
UK 6 0

Source: Dublin Unit, Asylum Service

Outgoing Dublin requests by criterion: 2020
Dublin III Regulation criterion Requests sent Requests accepted
Take charge”: Articles 8-15: 693 4
Article 8 (minors) 49 1
Article 9 (family members granted protection) 0 0
Article 10 (family members pending determination) 0 0
Article 11 (family procedure) 0 0
Article 12 (visas and residence permits) 0 0
Article 13 (entry and/or remain) 0 0
Article 14 (visa free entry) 0 0
“Take charge”: Article 16 0 0
“Take charge” humanitarian clause: Article 17(2) 44 3
“Take back”: Article 18 7 1
Article 18 (1) (b) 7 1
Article 18 (1) (c) 0 0
Article 18 (1) (d) 0 0
Article 20(5) 0 0

Source: Dublin Unit, Asylum Service

Incoming Dublin requests by criterion: 2020
Dublin III Regulation criterion Requests sent Requests accepted
Take charge”: Articles 8-15: 26 15
Article 8 (minors) 2 2
Article 9 (family members granted protection) 1 0
Article 10 (family members pending determination) 0 0
Article 11 (family procedure) 0 0
Article 12 (visas and residence permits) 22 12
Article 13 (entry and/or remain) 0 0
Article 14 (visa free entry) 0 0
“Take charge”: Article 16 0 0
“Take charge” humanitarian clause: Article 17(2) 1 1
“Take back”: Article 18 76 47
Article 18 (1) (b) 74 45
Article 18 (1) (c) 0 0
Article 18 (1) (d) 2 2
Article 20(5) 0 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, and 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] In 2020, 18 take charge requests were made under the humanitarian clause of which 3 were accepted.

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 such 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 and 2020, 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.

During 2020, and despite the measures implemented during Covid-19, transfers were not suspended and had to be carried out within the designated deadline. In the event that the transfer was not executed within the deadline, the responsibility would shift back to Cyprus, however no such cases were reported.[7]

In 2016, Cyprus carried out 62 outgoing transfers. In 2017, it carried out 12 outgoing transfers; in 2018 15 outgoing transfers; in 2019, 8 outgoing transfers; and in 2020, 47 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[8] and/or interviewer.[9] Due to Covid-19, teleconferencing was used for the purposes of conducting the personal interview, which was not the case in the past.  For the cases of UASC, the child along with their guardian would sit together in the space of the shelter where the child resides, while the interviewer and interpreter were at the offices of the Asylum Service. The minutes of the interview were recorded in writing, sent via e-mail to the guardian who would then print, sign, have the child sign and scan, and return the scanned copy to the Asylum Service via e-mail.

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 they have applied for asylum in said countries as well as the reasons for applying, the duration of stay along with specific dates of entry, and the 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, and the possibilities and effect on the case.[10]

Appeal

The law permits for an appeal against Dublin decisions before the IPAC during which the applicant has a right to remain. [11] The rules and procedure are the same as in in the regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Appeal).

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 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 IPAC.[12] 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 event that they have no place to stay on their own, they are transferred to Kofinou Reception Centre, which is an open centre for asylum seekers.[13]

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 from where it left off. However, if a final decision was issued, 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.

Two persons were returned to Cyprus in 2020 and 1 in 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 the Asylum Service.

[8]           Article 13A(9)(c).

[9]           Article 13A(9)(b).

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

[11]          Articles 12A(η) IPAC Law.

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

[13]          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