|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||Not available||Ministry on Migration and Asylum||No|
The Asylum Service is responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance.
Staffing and capacity
PD 104/2012, as modified by L 4375/2016, provides for Regional Asylum Offices (RAO) to be set up in Attica, Thessaloniki, Thrace, Epirus, Thessaly, Western Greece, Crete, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Rhodes. It is possible to establish more than one Regional Asylum Office per region by way of Ministerial Decision for the purpose of covering the needs of the Asylum Service.
At the end of 2021 , the Asylum Service operated in 24 locations throughout the country, as at the end of 2020 and 2019, compared to 23 locations at the end of 2018, 22 locations at the end of 2017 and 17 locations at the end of 2016.
13 RAO and 11 AAU were operational as of 31 December 2021. However, according to GCR’s knowledge the AAU responsible for Pakistani nationals was not operational during the last trimester of 2021.
|Operation of Regional Asylum Offices and Autonomous Asylum Units: 2021|
|Regional Asylum Office||Registrations 2021|
|Western Greece (Patra)||519|
|Autonomous Asylum Unit||Registrations 2021|
|Fast-Track Syria (Attica)||–|
|Applications from Pakistani nationals||199|
|Applications from Albanian and Georgian nationals||608|
|Beneficiaries of international protection||–|
|Applications from persons in custody||272|
EASO (now EUAA)
In April 2016, the law introduced the possibility for the Asylum Service to be assisted by European Asylum Support Office (EASO) personnel “exceptionally” and “in cases where third-country nationals or stateless persons arrive in large numbers”, within the framework of the Fast-Track Border Procedure. a subsequent amendment in June 2016, national legislation explicitly provided the possibility for the asylum interview within that procedure to be conducted by an EASO caseworker. The IPA has maintained this option, and has inserted the possibility for fast-track border procedure and admissibility interviews to be conducted by personnel of the Hellenic Police or the Armed Forces in particularly urgent circumstances.
Since May 2018, Greek-speaking EASO personnel can also assist the Asylum Service in the Regular Procedure. The law provides that in case of urgent need, EASO personnel can carry out any administrative procedure needed for processing applications. EASO caseworkers have conducted interviews under the regular procedure since the end of August 2018.
Following the signature of the Seat Agreement for the Hosting of the EASO Operational Office in Greece on 28 January 2020, EASO announced that the Agency’s operations in Greece are expected to double in size to over 1,000 personnel in 2020.
On December 2020, a new operational plan for the provision of scientific, technical and operational assistance to Greece from 01 January until 31 December 2021, was agreed by EASO and Greece. In accordance to this operational plan, EASO was about to provide inter alia a number of 44 registration-admin assistants, 180 Caseworkers seconded to GAS, 5 Coordination personnel and 163 Interpreters on the islands, 53 registration-admin assistants, a total of 180 Caseworkers seconded to GAS and 100 Interpreters on the mainland, 1 Legal Officer, 32 Dublin experts/Operations assistants, 1 Statistician and 5 Interpreters for the support of the Greek Dublin Unit and 8 Rapporteurs, 2 statisticians and 6 Admin assistants for the support of the Appeals Authority.
In 2021, EASO deployed 688 different experts in Greece, mostly temporary agency workers (650). The majority of these experts were caseworkers (186), followed by reception assistants (102), site management reception assistants (94), registration, administrative and information provision assistants (67), operations assistants (59), administrative assistants (46), vulnerability reception assistants (31) and a series of other programme and support staff (e.g. security staff, coordination staff, legal officers, Dublin staff, info providers etc).
As of 13 December 2021, there were still a total of 465 EASO experts present in Greece, out of which 77 were site management reception assistants, 62 registration, administrative and information provision assistants, 42 caseworkers, 35 reception assistants, 28 administrative assistants, 28 operations assistants and 28 vulnerability reception assistants.
On 9 December 2021 the Executive Director of EASO and the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum signed the 2022-2024 Operational Plan, which constitutes the longest one in the Agency’s history to date. The 3 year long 2022-2024 Operational Plan aims at contributing to the enhanced capacity of the Greek Authorities in processing asylum applications and providing reception conditions for persons in need of protection in Greece.
On 19 June 2022, Regulation 2021/2023 entered into force transforming EASO into the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA). The EUAA will provide support to the National Asylum and Reception Authorities in governance, strategic planning, quality and procedures. Regarding asylum, the Agency will support the asylum processing of applications for international protection at first and second instance, the Relocation program and the processing of Dublin requests.
In early 2022, the EUAA operates in around 45 locations throughout Greece with more than 680 personnel of various capacities.
 Article 1(3) L 4375/2016.
 Information provided by the Asylum Service, 17 February 2020; Information provided by the Asylum Service, 26 March 2019; Asylum Service, ‘The work of the Asylum Service in 2017’, 25 January 2018, available at: http://bit.ly/2BsCDGd.
 RSA, The asylum procedure in figures: most asylum seekers continue to qualify for international protection in 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3Pn9yCZ.
 Article 60(4)(b) L 4375/2016.
 Article 60(4)(b) L 4375/2016, as amended by Article 80(13) L 4399/2016.
 Articles 77(1) and 90(3)(b) IPA.
 Article 36(11) L 4375/2016, inserted by Article 28(7) L 4540/2018; Article 65(16) IPA.
 Information provided by EASO, 13 February 2019.
 EASO, ‘EASO operations in Greece to expand significantly’, 28 January 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3cMwXu5.
 Operation plan agreed by EASO and Greece, 17 December 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3NKKWU2.
 Ibid. 17.
 Information provided by EUAA, 28 February 2022.
 Information provided by EUAA, 28 February 2022.
 EUAA, Member States Operations, Greece, available at: https://bit.ly/3Kgld3G.