Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 10/07/24


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Article 59 (1) Asylum Code provides that the competent authority for the reception of asylum seekers in cooperation with competent government agencies, international organisations and certified social actors shall ensure the provision of material reception conditions. These conditions must ‘secure an adequate standard of living for asylum seekers that ensures their subsistence and protects their physical and mental health, based on the respect of human dignity’. As per the same article, the same standard of living is to be guaranteed for asylum seekers in detention. Special care is to be provided for those with special reception needs.[1]

Article 44 Asylum Code states that, during the reception and identification procedures, the Director (Διοικητής) and staff of the RIC or CCAC must ensure that third country nationals or stateless persons: a) live in decent living conditions, b) maintain their family unity, c) have access to emergency health care and necessary treatment or psychosocial support, d) receive the appropriate treatment, in case they belong to vulnerable groups, particularly if they are UAM or persons with disabilities, e) are sufficiently informed about their rights and obligations, f) have access to guidance and legal advice and assistance, g) maintain contact with institutions and civil society organisations active in the field of migration and human rights that provide legal or social assistance and h) have the right to communicate with their relatives and loved ones.

Asylum seekers are entitled to reception conditions from the time they submit an asylum application and throughout the asylum procedure. As regards children, reception conditions apply to minors, unaccompanied or not, and to separated minors, regardless of whether they have submitted an application for international protection.[2] In case of status recognition, reception conditions are terminated (with a few exceptions) within 30 days of the notification of the positive decision. In the specific case of UAM, this time limit starts counting from the time they reach adulthood.[3]

The law also foresees that the provision of all or part of the material reception conditions presupposes that asylum seekers lack employment or that their employment does not provide them with sufficient resources to maintain an adequate standard of living that is sufficient to safeguard their health and sustenance.[4] The latter is examined in proportion to the financial criteria determining eligibility for the Social Solidarity Benefit (Κοινωνικό Επίδομα Αλληλεγγύης, KEA),[5] which was renamed to Minimum Guaranteed Income (Ελάχιστο Εγγυημένο Εισόδημα) in 2020.[6] The law also provides that reception conditions can be reduced or withdrawn following an individual and justified decision by the competent reception authority, based on the full set of grounds provided under article 20 of the (recast) Reception Directive, including if it is established that the applicant concealed their financial resources or if they have lodged a subsequent asylum application.[7]

That being said, delays in accessing reception continued to be reported in 2023, on account of chronic delays in accessing asylum on the mainland, which have persisted even after the substitution of the skype registration system with the MoMA’s new electronic platform in the summer of 2022 (also see Access to the procedure on the mainland).[8] During the months preceding the new platform’s operationalisation, and by contrast to temporary protection applications (who, with scarce exceptions, were all registered in a timely manner), access to asylum from the mainland for people who had not undergone first reception procedures became a near impossibility, leaving many applicants in a state of legal limbo. Yet, as noted elsewhere,[9] even after its operationalisation, the online platform has been frequently unavailable/not functioning and, when functional, it has been observed that appointments for the full registration of an application are often granted many months later.[10] These delays, which have persisted in Malakasa RIC during the first months of 2024 as well,[11]  have resulted in applicants’ frequent inability to access asylum procedures for prolonged periods of time, during which they do not enjoy any of the rights granted to them by their status as applicants, including access to reception.

Most importantly, lthough the new platform serves the purpose of scheduling the registration of a person’s will to apply for international protection and should thus be sufficient to establish a person’s status as an asylum applicant, the ongoing practice by the MoMA not only fails to recognise recourse to the platform as tantamount to a person expressing their will to apply for asylum, but on the contrary, the attestation granted through the platform clearly states that it does not amount to proof of such will. As increasingly observed by GCR’s Legal Unit, during 2023, this has frequently resulted in the arbitrary use of detention for the purpose of returning people who had already registered their will to apply for asylum via the platform. In at least eight cases represented by GCR in 2023, most of which concerned applicants from Afghanistan, competent First Instance Administrative Courts have also ruled that upon requesting the scheduling of the registration of an application for international protection via the platform, the persons concerned receive the status of an asylum applicant, as per the law. Yet instead of reviewing the practice, the Greek authorities filled a request for the first such Decision to be revoked before the Administrative Court of Kavala. The application for revocation was rejected as inadmissible by the Court.[12] A petition for violation of EU law on the same issue has been filed by the GCR since December 2022 (CHAP(2022)03534), and is pending before the European Commission.[13]

Lastly, a new, severely worrying practice identified as of early 2024 in the Samos CCAC, where amidst increased arrivals people have been residing in deplorable conditions, raises further questions as to applicants’ effective access to reception conditions. Namely, as observed in February 2024,[14] applicants are asked whether they would like to sign a solemn declaration stating that they do not wish to reside in the Samos CCAC or any other regional facility of the RIS, which in practice, seems to amount to being called to choose between prolonging their stay in a facility that utterly fails to meet reception standards, or renouncing their right to reception conditions, in order to be able to escape these conditions.[15] Moreover, based on the same observations, upon provided with this choice, applicants are not informed that, if they agree, they can lose access to the financial aid provided in the context of reception and, for those that may be granted international protection, to the Helios integration program, as both have a residency requirement strictly linked to ongoing stay in the Greek reception system. A similar practice has been observed in the Evros RIC, which since its operationalisation in 2013 has been exclusively functioning as a closed facility, albeit to the extent that GCR can be aware, applicants there are also called to sign that they have been informed, with the support of an interpreter, of the possible consequences of signing the aforementioned declaration.[16]




[1] Article 59(1) Asylum Code.

[2] Article 37(1) and 62(3) Asylum Code.

[3] Article 109 Asylum Code.

[4] Article 59(3) Asylum Code.

[5] Article 235 L 4389/2016.

[6] Article 29 L. 4659/2020.

[7] Article 61 Asylum Code.

[8] MoMA, Launch of the online application platform for asylum seeker registration appointments, 13 July 2022, available in Greek at: For more on the skype system, see MIT, Lives on Hold: Access to Asylum on Mainland Greece, Crete and Rhodes, November 2021, available at: MIT, Blocked from the system: Voices of people excluded from the asylum procedure on mainland Greece, Crete and Rhodes, May 2022, MIT, Statement on new registration asylum procedure, 1st September 2022, available at:

[9] GCR, Submission of The Greek Council for Refugees to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe concerning the groups of cases of M.S.S. v. Greece (Application No. 30696/09) and Rahimi v. Greece (8687/08), July 2023, available at:  

[10] Also see RSA, Registration of asylum applications in the new mainland RIC in Greece, February 2023, available at:, pp. 5-6.

[11] As per information shared during the 22 February 2024 National Protection Working Group.

[12] An excerpt of the relevant decision (ΔΠρΚαβ ΑΡ516/2023) can be found in GCR, HIAS & RSA, Greek Asylum Case Law Report: Issue 1/2023, 5 July 2023, available (Greek) at:, p. 57 

[13] Also see GCR, Administrative courts: The detention of asylum seekers pending full registration, to whom the Ministry of Migration & Asylum does not recognize the status of applicant, is illegal, 21 March 2023, available at:

[14] Information acquired during the 15 February 2024 Legal Actors Working Group and re-confirmed during the 22 February 2024 National Protection Working Group.

[15] As further reported in February 2024 by legal aid actors under the newly established Border Legal Aid sub-working group, which covers the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Kos, the text of the solemn declaration is as follows: “I do not wish to be accommodated at the CCAC of Samos or any other regional service of RIS. I will live on my own and the address is…… and I have been informed of the consequences of my nonappearance before the examining authority”. Information acquired on 12 March 2024.

[16] As per information inter alia shared during the CEAS sub-working group of 4 March 2024.

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