Admissibility procedure

Greece

Country Report: Admissibility procedure Last updated: 10/06/21

Author

Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

General (scope, criteria, time limits)

Under Article 84 IPA, an application can be considered as inadmissible on the following grounds:

  • Another EU Member State has granted international protection status;
  • Another EU Member State has accepted responsibility under the Dublin Regulation;
  • When the First Country of Asylum concept is applied;
  • When the Safe Third Country concept is applied;
  • The application is a Subsequent Application and no “new essential elements” have been presented;
  • A family member has submitted a separate application to the family application without justification for lodging a separate claim.

Unless otherwise provided, the Asylum Service must decide on the admissibility of an application within 30 days.[1]The Asylum Service dismissed 9.471 applications as inadmissible in 2020[2]:

Inadmissibility decisions:  2020
Type of decision Number
Safe third country 2,812
Dublin cases Ν/Α
Subsequent application 2,372
Formal reasons Ν/Α
Total 9,471

Personal interview

Principally on Lesvos Island – when the interviews resumed after the fire that out in Moria’s Refugee Camp – the interviews were conducted exclusively remotely via teleconference or videoconference. During this ‘remote interviews’, the applicant and his lawyer were in a room, whereas the case worker and the interpreter are located elsewhere. Concerns have been raised regarding the respect of certain procedural safeguards. [3]Certain interviews were conducted by caseworkers of RAOs of other islands. In these cases, the competency to issue a decision remained to the RAO of Lesvos.

On the island of Kos, between September and mid-October, an informal administrative practice was implemented according to which scheduled appointments for interviews were canceled by servicing a new call for an interview. These interviews were conducted by the caseworkers in Kos, yet the decision were issued by other RAOs, mainly by the RAO of Lesvos.

The conduct of an interview on the admissibility procedure varies depending on the admissibility ground examined. For example, according to Article 89(2) IPA, in force since 1 January 2020 as a rule no interview takes place during the preliminary examination of a subsequent application.[4] The interview is conducted only if the subsequent application for asylum is deemed admissible. In Dublin cases, an interview limited to questions on the travel route, the family members’ whereabouts etc. takes place (see section on Dublin).

Personal interviews in cases examined under the “safe third country” concepts focus on the circumstances that the applicants faced in Turkey. More specifically focus is laid on:

  • Whether they have asked for international protection in Turkey and;
  • if not, which reasons have prevented them from doing so;
  • whether they have family and friends in Turkey;
  • how long they remained in Turkey;
  • if they had access to work, housing, education and health care;
  • and in general if Turkey is a safe country for them.

The examination under the safe third country concept in practice takes place in the scope of fast track border procedure and more specifically exclusively for Syrians who fall under the EU Turkey Statement, namely those who have entered Greece via the Greek Aegean islands and a geographical restriction is posed to them. Syrians whose geographical limitation is lifted are channeled to the mainland and are examined under the regular procedure.

The vast majority of Syrians’ applications examined under the fast track border procedure are rejected as inadmissible. By exception, certain applications filed by Syrian single women or single mothers, have been deemed admissible by the RAO of Samos and Leros. However, this is not a common practice, since GCR is aware of cases with a similar profile, which have been rejected at first instance as Turkey has been considered as a safe third country for them. For example the RAO of Lesvos has rejected the application of a Syrian single mother with eight children as inadmissible.

From 1 January 2020 onwards, it is possible for the admissibility interview to be carried out by personnel of EASO or, in particularly urgent circumstances, trained personnel of the Hellenic Police or the Armed Forces.[5] Such personnel is not allowed to wear military or law enforcement uniforms during interviews.[6]

 

Appeal

According to the IPA, the deadlines for appealing an inadmissibility decision, the automatic suspensive effect of appeals and the format of the Committee examining them depend on the inadmissibility ground invoked in the first instance decision under the regular procedure:[7]

Time limits and automatic suspensive effect: Appeals against inadmissibility
Ground Deadline (days) Suspensive Format
Protection in another EU Member State 20 No Single judge
Dublin 15 Yes Single judge
First country of asylum 20 No Collegial
Safe third country 20 Yes Collegial
Subsequent application with no new elements 5 No Single judge
Application by dependant 20 Yes Single judge

The Appeals Committee must decide on the appeal within 20 days, as opposed to 30 days in the regular procedure.[8]

The vast majority of Syrians’ appeals examined under the fast track border procedure are rejected as inadmissible. By exception, certain appeals of Syrian single woman have been considered as admissible. In one of the cases, the Appeals Committee considered that despite the existence of a protection system in Turkey, the applicant stayed in Turkey for a particularly short period of time (18 days) without being able to access a support network and did not have the right to live in one of the accommodation centers. Furthermore, the applicant had no contact with the Turkish authorities or other links with the country, such as previous long-term visits or studies. Moreover, the Appeals Committee took in to consideration that the appellant is an unmarried woman without a supportive family environment, which would make it particularly difficult for her to obtain social and employment ties in Turkey. Also, it took into account the problems regarding accessing protection and services, as well as the gender discrimination and the living and working conditions for Syrian women prevailing in Turkey. Following the above, the Committee considered that in this case the legally required condition of ‘connection’ on the basis of which it would be reasonable for the appellant to return to Turkey is not established and, therefore, Turkey could not be considered a safe third country for her. Thus, under said second instance decision the appeal of the Syrian woman has been considered admissible and she was granted with subsidiary protection status.

Similarly, certain appeals of Syrians of Kurdish origin have been considered as admissible in second instance. Also, few appeals of Syrian who used to reside in Syrian areas were Turkey has military activity have been considered admissible due to the fact that the condition of ‘connection’ could not be fulfilled given the violent military intervention of Turkey in their region of origin. Lastly, GCR is aware of a second instance decision, which considered the appeal of a Syrian who has remained in Turkey for the short period of 15 days as admissible, on the ground that crossing per se is not in itself sufficient or significant connection with the country.

Legal assistance

Legal Assistance in the admissibility procedure does not differ from the one granted for the regular procedure (see section on Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance).

 

[1]  Article 83(2) IPA. Different deadlines are provided ie. for subsequent applications; when the safe third country concept is examined under the fast track border procedure, etc

[2]  Information provided by the Asylum Service, 31 March 2021

[3]  Report of Legal Organizations on the quality of remote asylum interviews at RAO Lesvos and the conditions they are conducted under, which pose a health risk to asylum seekers and employees, December 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3v9BHCH

[4] According to the second limb of Article 59(2), “Exceptionally, the applicant may be invited, according to the provisions of this Part, to a hearing in order to clarify elements of the subsequent application, when the Determining Authority considers this necessary”.

[5] Article 77(1) IPA.

[6]  Article 77(12)(c) IPA.

[7] Article 92(1)(b) and (d) IPA as amended by Article 20 L 4686/2020 and 104(2)(a) IPA as amended by Article 26 (2) L 4686/2020 and Article 116(2) IPA. Kindly note that the deadline for appealing against decisions issued under the provision of Article 90 IPA (border procedure) is 10 days. All the appeals filed by residents of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos are examined by Single Judge Committee [Article 5 (7) L. 4375/2016, as amended by Article 30(2) L4686/2020].

[8]  Article 101 (d) L4636/2019, as amended by Article 25 (d) L4686/2020.

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