Subsequent applications

Cyprus

Country Report: Subsequent applications Last updated: 08/04/22

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All subsequent applications must go through an admissibility procedure as provided for in the law.[1] Under the Refugee Law, the competent authority for the examination of a subsequent application is the Asylum Service.

According to the law, if an applicant submits a subsequent application or new elements or findings on their claim after a final decision was made, the competent authority does not treat these cases as a new application, but as further steps on the initial application.[2] In relation to the admissibility of the application, the Asylum Service has to conduct a preliminary examination to assess whether the submitted information constitutes new elements or findings which the Asylum Service did not take into consideration when deciding on the initial claim.[3] This examination used to require an interview, however, the October 2020 amendment to the Law removed this requirement and the examination is now carried out without an interview.[4]

When the Asylum Service decides that the subsequent application or new elements or findings are admissible, it will continue with the substantive examination of these. According to the law, the decision will only be considered as a new decision if the elements increase the chances of the applicant receiving international protection, and if the competent authority is satisfied that the applicant could not submit these elements in the initial examination, and especially during the stage of a recourse to the Administrative Court under Article 146 of the Constitution, due to no fault of his or her own.[5]

There are no specific time limits within which the Asylum Service must issue a decision on the admissibility of the subsequent application or new elements or findings.

According to the Law, once a subsequent application is submitted, the applicant has a right to remain and access to reception conditions during the examination of the admissibility of the application. However, the Asylum Service may decide to terminate the right to remain and access to reception conditions if the applicant appears to have lodged a first subsequent application with the sole objective of delaying or impeding the execution of a decision which would lead to the immediate removal of the applicant from the RoC. The Law also states that the Asylum Service may decide to terminate the right to remain and access to reception conditions if the applicant has lodged a second or further subsequent applications to the Asylum Service, following the issuance of a final decision declaring the first subsequent application was inadmissible or after a final decision rejecting the subsequent application as unfounded, provided that the Asylum service is satisfied that any decision to return or remove the person in question does not involve direct or indirect refoulement.[6]

Regarding the procedure to be followed, the Asylum Service has set up a procedure for the submission of subsequent applications, new elements or findings and introduced a form which applicants are required to submit. The process of examining such applications initially became timelier, however due to the rise in such applications the processing time has also increased. In early 2021, efforts were being made to reduce the backlog; however, this also has had an impact on the quality of decisions, as cases were identified that had been rejected as inadmissible although new elements had been submitted that justifiably could not have been submitted before. Cases were also identified where the new elements would increase the chances of the applicant receiving international protection but were rejected as inadmissible.[7] In March 2021, the IPAC issued a decision concerning the admissibility procedure followed by the Asylum Service and considered that the Asylum Service had not followed the steps prescribed by the Law, the new element was indeed new and should have been examined and that it did increase the chances of receiving protection.[8] Following this decision, cases were identified that admitted for the substantive examination, indicating that the Asylum Service is more careful when examining the admissibility of such cases, despite the steady rise in the number of subsequent applications registered in 2021.[9]

If the Asylum Service considers that the subsequent application is not admissible, an appeal can be submitted before the IPAC. Such appeal, however, does not have automatic suspensive effect, and a separate application must be submitted to the IPAC requesting the right to remain pending the examination of the appeal. The procedure to submit an application for the right to remain is not provided for in procedural rules, and thus there is no available application form or given process. In some jurisprudential cases it was however held that the right to remain must be requested within the given deadline for the submission of the appeal.  For decisions relating to subsequent applications where the right to remain may be terminated by the Asylum Service it is less clear and jurisprudence has yet to clarify whether a request to the IPAC for the right to remain does indeed have automatic suspensive effect.[10]

There is no specific time limit set for the issuance of a decision but rather the law provides that a decision must be issued as soon as possible

The subsequent application procedure was usually followed by Syrian nationals who were previously in Cyprus as their application for asylum will be treated as a subsequent application regardless of the years that have elapsed since they were last in the country, as well as Iranians, rejected asylum seekers with long-standing (mainly irregular) residence in Cyprus, Muslim born Christian converts from different national backgrounds, and persons attempting to prolong their legal stay in Cyprus. In 2021, there was a shift in these trends, as there was a steady increase in the number of subsequent applications with the  majority submitted by nationals from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In 2019, 535 asylum seekers lodged subsequent applications. No data was available on subsequent applications in 2020, while in 2021, 1,829 persons lodged subsequent applications; 279 applications were considered admissible and 1,796 inadmissible.[11]

[1] Article 16Δ Refugee Law.

[2] Article 16Δ(2) Refugee Law.

[3] Article 16Δ(3)(a) Refugee Law.

[4] Article 16Δ(2) Refugee Law.

[5] Article 16Δ(3)(b)(ii) Refugee Law.

[6] 16Δ (4)(a), Refugee Law.

[7] Based on cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[8] IPAC, Decision 782/2020 J.Y.v. Republic of Cyprus (Asylum Service), 5 March 2021, available in Greek at https://bit.ly/3wFjO0g.

[9] Based on cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[10] Α.K.U. ν. Republic of Cyprus, Case No.: ΔΚ 24/21, 12/4/2021 available at https://bit.ly/3wMV2Od and SINGH ν. Ministry of Interior and others, Case No.: 730/2021, 23/8/2021.

[11] Information provided by the Asylum Service.

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