|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?|
|Migration Directorate||60||Ministry of the Interior||No|
Source: Migration Directorate.
The determining authority is the International Protection Procedures Division, which is part of the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior. It is a specialised and centralised authority responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance.
Out of 60 employees at the Migration Directorate, 36 employees work in the International Protection Procedures division out of which 12 make decisions on asylum applications. This means that the caseworker conducting the interview is not necessarily responsible for deciding on the asylum application. The separation of tasks between an interviewer and a decision-maker was introduced in June 2016 with the aim of speeding up and improving the efficiency of the asylum procedure. Since then, when an application for international protection is lodged, a “first interview on the merits” is conducted, during which the applicant provides detailed grounds for applying for asylum. The case is then referred to a “decision maker”, who can either issue a decision on the asylum application or decide to conduct a second interview on the merits. There is no official communication between the first interviewer and the decision-maker.
As regards quality assurance, the Migration Directorate has established a mechanism whereby each decision has to be authorised by a responsible official of the International Protection Procedures Division before it is issued. A review is thus conducted on the case files, the documentation, country of origin information (COI) and the decision made in the individual case.
In absence of a specific unit responsible for applications from vulnerable persons, staff of the International Protection Procedures Division of the Migration Directorate receive specific training from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on three modules: interviewing vulnerable groups, interviewing children, gender identity and sexual orientation. In addition, EASO training on victims of human trafficking and COI was provided in the first half of 2019.  In 2020, training on the Dublin Regulation and interviewing vulnerable persons was provided. In 2021, only training on interviewing vulnerable persons was conducted.
 Official statistics provided by the Migration Directorate, March 2022.