Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 30/11/20


Portuguese Refugee Council Visit Website

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 first instance authority?

Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), Asylum and Refugees Department (GAR)


Ministry of Home Affairs


Source: SEF.


In accordance with the Asylum Act and the internal regulation of the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF),[2] the responsibility for examining applications for international protection and drafting first instance decisions lies with the Asylum and Refugees Department of SEF (GAR), while decisions granting, refusing (except in accelerated and admissibility procedures), ceasing and withdrawing international protection are formally adopted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In practice, the latter adopts decisions on the basis of the assessment and recommendations of the determining authority, which thus remains the main entity responsible for the examination of asylum claims.

SEF-GAR is thus the specialised determining authority in the field of asylum whose competences are restricted to the following asylum-related tasks[3]: (i) to organise and process asylum applications; (ii) to organise and process subsidiary protection applications; (iii) to organise and process Dublin procedures and, where necessary, to issue laissez passer; (iv) to issue reasoned opinions on submissions for refugee resettlement; (v) to issue reasoned opinions on applications for the renewal of refugee travel documents presented before the Portuguese Consulates; (vi) to issue refugee identity cards and travel documents as well as residence permits provided for in the Asylum Act and to renew and extend the validity of such documents; (vii) to act as contact point of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO); and (viii) to provide for the strategic planning of EASO-related activities.

SEF-GAR is headed by one coordinator (the Head of Department) and is composed of an examination procedures unit and a support unit (which is responsible for the tasks listed above as v and vi).[4] The examination procedures unit is supervised by a Head of Unit. There are (i) 10 case officials responsible for the examination of applications for international protection under all the applicable procedures (except the Dublin procedure), (ii) 2 caseworkers for Dublin procedures; (iii) 2 officials responsible for revising files and proposals drafted by caseworkers which are then submitted to (iv) one official responsible for the final decision. In total, SEF-GAR is thus composed of 15 officials responsible for conducting all interviews and drafting decisions. According to information previously provided, in the first half of 2019, SEF-GAR also had an additional 7 administrative support officers.


[1] This number refers to the number of officers responsible for examining applications (10 officials), conducting Dublin procedures (2 officials), revising files and proposals (2 officials), and issuing final decisions (1 official). According to information provided by SEF, during the first half of the year 2019, SEF-GAR also had an additional 7 administrative support officials, thus bringing the total number of staff at 22 as of June 2019.

[2] Article 29(1) Asylum Act; Article 17 Decree-Law 252/2000.

[3] Article 17(1) Decree-Law 252/2000.

[4] Article 17(2) Decree-Law 252/2000.


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