Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions

Greece

Country Report: Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions Last updated: 30/05/22

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Reception conditions may be reduced or in exceptional and specifically justified cases withdrawn, following a decision of the competent reception authority, where applicants:[1]

  1. If provided with housing, abandon the accommodation to which they have been referred, without informing the competent administration or without permission or abandon the place of residence determined by the competent authority without permission;
  2. Do not comply with reporting duties or do not respond to requests for information or do not attend, in the process of the examination of their application for international protection, to a personal interview within the deadline set by the receiving and examining authorities;
  3. Have lodged a Subsequent Application;
  4. Have concealed their resources and illegitimately taken advantage of material reception conditions; or
  5. Have seriously breached the house rules of the reception centre, in particular by demonstrating violent behaviour, in which case the competent police authority is also notified, in order to ascertain whether detention should be applied, on grounds of national security or public order or due to a risk of absconding.

In cases a and b, when the applicant(s) is located or voluntarily presents themselves to the competent Authority, a specially justified decision, based on the reasons for abandonment, is taken with regard to the renewal of the provision of part or all of the material reception conditions, which were restricted or interrupted.[2]

Moreover, material reception conditions may be reduced, in cases where the competent reception authority can establish that the applicant, for no justifiable reason, has not lodged an application for international protection as soon as reasonably practicable after arrival on the Greek territory.[3] Similarly, reception conditions may be reduced in accordance with article 57 in cases where minor applicants and the minor children of the applicants do not comply with the obligation to enrol and attend school courses (primary and secondary education of the public system of education), because they do not want to join the education system.[4]

In order for material reception conditions to be reduced and/or withdrawn, the RIS or the Directorate for the Protection of Asylum Seekers need to take a justified decision following an individualised and objective assessment, which takes into account the applicant’s vulnerability. The decision to reduce or withdraw material reception conditions cannot concern the applicant’s access to medical care and cannot result in making it impossible for them to access the basic means for ensuring a decent standard of living.[5]

A relevant procedure is laid down in the General Regulation of Temporary Reception and Temporary Accommodation Facilities for third country nationals or stateless persons under the responsibility of the RIS (Γενικός Κανονισμός Λειτουργίας Δομών Προσωρινής Υποδοχής και Δομών Προσωρινής Φιλοξενίας πολιτών τρίτων χωρών ή ανιθαγενών, που λειτουργούν με μέριμνα της Υπηρεσίας Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης) and the General Regulation for the Operation of Reception and Identification Centres and Mobile Reception and Identification Units (Γενικός Κανονισμός Λειτουργίας Κέντρων Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης και Κινητών Μονάδων Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης). In the first case, the procedure foresees: (a) a written warning and (b) a reasoned decision reducing or withdrawing material reception conditions, while in the second case a three-step procedure is foreseen, consisting of (a) an oral recommendation, (b) a written warning and (c) the interruption of accommodation as long as reception and identification procedures have been completed.[6]

Lastly, a new regulation covering the newly established Closed-Controlled Facilities on the islands was issued in 2021. This regulation inter alia foresees the possibility to terminate accommodation and withdraw material reception if applicants are unjustifiably not identified during the regular census-verification of the resident population for two consecutive times,[7] albeit no separate procedure is foreseen.

Between June and December 2020, reception conditions were withdrawn in the case of 4,957 beneficiaries that were accommodated in camps (2,924) and the ESTIA accommodation scheme (2,033), following recognition of their status or after receiving a second instance negative decision. Relevant data for the period between January-May 2020 or on potential decisions reducing and/or withdrawing material reception conditions on the basis of article 57 IPA remain unavailable. Data on 2021 also remain unavailable up to the time of writing.

Applicants have the right to lodge an appeal (προσφυγή) before the Administrative Courts against decisions that reduce or withdraw reception conditions. In the case of appeal before the Courts, applicants also have a right to free legal aid and representation.[8] However, as explained further below, the remedy provided by this provision is not available in practice.

[1] Article 57(1), (3) and (4) IPA).

[2] Article 57 (1) IPA.

[3] Article 57(2) IPA), which provides that “The competent reception Authority shall reduce material reception conditions when it ascertains that the applicant has without justifiable cause not applied for international protection as soon as possible after their arrival in the Greek territory”).

[4] Article 51 (2) IPA.

[5] Article 57(5) IPA.

[6] Article 18 (1) Ministerial Decision 13/13532/2020, Gov. Gazette, 5272/Β’/30.11.2020 and article 10(1) Joint Ministerial Decision 1/7433/10-6-2019, Gov. Gazette 2219/B/10.6.2019.

[7] Article 7 (2) Decision 25.0/118832 of the General Secretary of Reception of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Gov. Gazette 3191/B/ 20.7.21.

[8] Article 112 (1) and (2) 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