|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 determining authority?|
|Asylum Office||23||Ministry of Interior||No|
The Asylum Office is responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance. In line with the Rulebook on the internal organisation and systematisation of positions in the Ministry of Interior, which established the Asylum Office on 14 January 2015, there should be 29 positions within the Asylum Office.
As of the end of 2020, there were a total of 23 staff, of which:
|Asylum Office staff: 2020|
|Head of the Asylum Office||0|
|Head of the RSDP Department||0|
|Head of the Country of Origin Information Department||1|
|Country of Origin Information Officers||2|
|Registration Officers (Krnjača, Bogovađa and Banja Koviljača Asylum Centres)||3|
|Translators for English language||2|
Eleven asylum officers are in charge of the asylum procedure and for deciding on applications for international protection, out of which 7 have between 5 years and 10 years of experience. One of the asylum officers was on a maternity leave during 2020, while 2 asylum officers have left. Their decisions must further be confirmed by the Head of the Asylum Office. The increase of the capacity of the first instance body has slightly improved the effectiveness of asylum procedures in terms of more timely conduct of asylum interviews. However, it still necessary to increase their capacities and in that way harmonise the practice, including among different asylum officers.
In September 2020, the Head of the Asylum Office was transferred to another position, and the new Head, without any prior experience was appointed. Moreover, the Deputy of the Head of the Asylum Office was transferred to another Department of the Ministry of Interior. In December 2020, the newly appointed Head of the Asylum Office was transferred again, leaving the Country-of-Origin Information Officer as an acting Head and an acting Deputy of the Head of the Asylum Office.
There is no quality assurance control in place and the practice of the Asylum Office is not publicly available for analysis. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has stopped providing any data regarding asylum and migration issues in 2018, and the only available data can be extracted from legal representatives in asylum procedure and publicly available reports published by other State institutions such as the Ombudsman. The lack of quality assurance control and comprehensive analysis can be considered as one of the main reasons for contradicting decisions in the practice of Asylum Office, Asylum Commission and Administrative Court. However, it is fair to say that the Administrative Court has been the most transparent authority, always providing its judgments to CSOs and individual practitioners.
The specialisation and knowledge of the members of the Asylum Commission can still be considered inadequate for their role, since none of the current members have a strong background in refugee and international human rights law, except for the professor of the constitutional law from the Criminal-Police Academy appointed in 2019. Moreover, the Administrative Court judges still lack adequate resources to assess complaints lodged by asylum seekers and their legal representatives and are yet to undergo a certain level of reorganization which would lead to a situation in which certain judges will specialise in asylum and migration issues.