Subsequent applications

Greece

Country Report: Subsequent applications Last updated: 10/06/21

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Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

The law sets out no time limit for lodging a subsequent application.[1]

A subsequent application can also be lodged by a member of a family who had previously lodged an application. In this case the preliminary examination concerns the eventual existence of evidence that justifies the submission of a separate application by the depending person.[2]

2,711 subsequent asylum applications were submitted to the Asylum Service in 2020:

Subsequent applications 2020
Five main countries of origin Number of applications
Pakistan 635
Afghanistan 414
Syria 350
Albania 314
Iran 211

Source: Asylum Service 31 March 2021.

A total of 699 subsequent applications were considered admissible and referred to be examined on the merits, while 2,372 subsequent applications were dismissed as inadmissible in 2020.[3]

The definition of “final decision” was amended in 2018. According to the new definition, as maintained in the IPA, a “final decision” is a decision granting or refusing international protection:

(a) taken [by the Appeals Committees] following an administrative appeal, or

(b) which is no longer amenable to an administrative appeal due to the expiry of the time limit to appeal.[4]

An application for annulment can be lodged against the final decision before the Administrative Court.[5]

The registration of a subsequent application in practice is suspended for as long as the deadline for the submission of an application for the annulment of the second instance negative decision before the Administrative Court is still pending,[6] unless the applicant proceeds to waive his or her right to legal remedies. The applicant can only waive this right in person or through a proxy before the competent Administrative Court of Appeal. This procedure poses serious obstacles to applicants subject to the Fast-Track Border Procedure who intend to submit a subsequent application.

This is in particular the case for applicants whose application has been examined without having being processed by the RIS due to the shortcomings in the Identification procedure and without having their vulnerability been identified, or cases regarding vulnerabilities appeared or identified in a later stage. Cases where vulnerability has been identified by the RIS or medical actors operating on the islands, e.g. public hospitals, and in which relevant certificates were issued after the second instance examination or even after the issuance of the second instance decision have been encountered by GCR. Therefore, the identification of vulnerability is a “new, substantial element” as prescribed by law.

However, according to the practice followed in some of the Eastern Aegean Islands during 2020, applicants, whose application was rejected within the framework of the fast-track border procedure, had to leave the country within 10 days of the notification of the decision (voluntary departure). However, upon their arrival to the mainland they found themselves in a legal limbo given that their right to submit a subsequent application was hindered as RAOs and AAUs did not accept to register subsequent applications submitted by persons who were rejected under fast-track border procedure despite the fact they had left the islands legally.

The next example concerning a vulnerable single – parent Syrian family (a 9-month-pregnant mother, victim of domestic violence suffering from mental health disorders with three minors) reflects the aforementioned issues arising in the registration of subsequent applications in the mainland:

Following the 2nd instance decision on their asylum application which was dismissed as “inadmissible” on the grounds that Turkey is a safe third country, the family left Chios given that, according to the abovementioned decision and the accompanying document, “the applicants have to leave the country within 10 days (voluntary departure) and the RIC within 30 days from the notification of the decision”. Upon their arrival to the mainland, GCR addressed a request to the Asylum Service in order for a subsequent application to be lodged in Athens. However, the said request was rejected on the grounds that “there was no decision for the lift of the geographical restriction and, thus, there is lack of competence of the authorities in question”. Then, GCR addressed a second intervention to the Asylum Service as well as to the Greek Ombudsperson, claiming, that the applicants left the island of Chios legally and in any case they cannot go back due to their vulnerability and Covid-19 movement restrictions. It was also underlined that their right to asylum and access to asylum procedure is violated, since they were de facto in a legal limbo situation, as, on the one hand, they could not return to the island (pregnancy and movement restrictions) and on the other hand, they were not able to apply for international protection in Athens, since the RAO of Alimos and Fast-Track Asylum Unit did not accept to register their subsequent application. Furthermore, it was highlighted that the applicant’s access to healthcare was denied by the public hospitals in Athens and that they were utterly homeless. Despite two interventions of the Greek Ombudsperson followed by another request by GCR addressed to Chios RIS and Chios Police Directorate in order for the geographical restriction to be lifted, the subsequent application was still not registered by the Asylum Service in March 2021.

Furthermore, according to GCR’s findings, the same practice is followed by AAUs in the mainland in cases of persons under administrative detention who had infringed the geographical restriction and are detained with a view of return to the island: in 2020, the Asylum Service did not accept to register their subsequent application “due to lack of competence”.

Moreover, legal practitioners have witnessed cases in 2020 in which the Asylum Service incorrectly interprets the concept of “final decision” by deeming that a second instance decision against which an application for annulment has been lodged at the Administrative Court is not final until the court has delivered its ruling. In one case, the RAO of Western Greece held that the individual’s new application could therefore not be considered a subsequent application, and was dismissed as inadmissible due to lack of competence of the Asylum Service. Following intervention, the decision was withdrawn and the RAO deemed the subsequent claim admissible.[7]

Preliminary examination procedure

When a subsequent application is lodged, the relevant authorities examine the application in conjunction with the information provided in previous applications.[8]

Subsequent applications are subject to a preliminary examination, during which the authorities examine whether new substantial elements have arisen or are submitted by the applicant. The preliminary examination of subsequent applications is conducted within 5 days to assess whether new substantial elements have arisen or been submitted by the applicant.[9] According to the IPA, the examination takes place within 2 days if the applicant’s right to remain on the territory has been withdrawn.[10]

During that preliminary stage, according to the law all information is provided in writing by the applicant,[11] however in practice subsequent applications have been registered with all information provided orally.

If the preliminary examination concludes on the existence of new elements “which affect the assessment of the application for international protection”, the subsequent application is considered admissible and examined on the merits. The applicant is issued a new “asylum seeker’s card” in that case. If no such elements are identified, the subsequent application is deemed inadmissible.[12]

Until a final decision is taken on the preliminary examination, all pending measures of deportation or removal if applicants who have lodged a subsequent asylum application are suspended.[13]

Exceptionally, under the IPA, “the right to remain on the territory is not guaranteed to applicants who

(a) make a first subsequent application which is deemed inadmissible, solely to delay or frustrate removal, or

(b) make a second subsequent application after a final decision dismissing or rejecting the first subsequent application”.[14]

Any new submission of an identical subsequent application is dismissed as inadmissible.[15]

Until the completion of this preliminary procedure, applicants are not provided with proper documentation and have no access to the rights attached to asylum seeker status or protection. The asylum seeker’s card is provided after a positive decision on admissibility.

 

 

[1]           Article 89 IPA

[2]           Article 89(5) IPA.

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

[4]           Article 63(a) IPA.

[5]           Article 108(1) IPA.

[6]           Said deadline was up until the end of 2019 60 days – Since the entry into force of the IPA is 30 days.

[7]           Information provided by RSA, 4 January 2021.

[8]           Article 89(1) IPA.

[9]           Article 89(2) IPA.

[10]          Articles 89(2) and 89(9) IPA.

[11]          Article 89(2) IPA.

[12]          Article 89(4) IPA.

[13]          Article 89(9) IPA.

[14]          Article 89(9) IPA.

[15]          Article 89(7) IPA.

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