MINISTRY OF PUBLIC ORDER & CITIZEN PROTECTION
Asylum Service: One year of operation
Athens, 16 June 2014 – The Asylum Service has completed one year of operation. The newly established Asylum Service registered (8,945) applications for international protection and granted international protection at first instance to (926) asylum seekers, who were mostly citizens of Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia as well as Palestinians. Among those who sought international protection were (430) unaccompanied minors.
The recognition rate at first instance was 20.1 percent, very close to the average rates of the European Union. This represents a significant increase compared to the low recognition rate of the first instance in the previous asylum system, one of the reasons why our country had been criticized in the past.
During the first year of the operation of the Asylum Service, the asylum procedure was completely revised so as to be more fair and efficient. The international protection applicant card granted to asylum applicants allows them to stay legally in the country for the duration of the asylum procedure, and has enhanced security features to avoid forgery. The procedure for examining applications for international protection lasts an average of 122 days, while in the past asylum seekers waited for several years for the examination of their application.
The Asylum Service is autonomous and reports to the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection. It operates Regional Asylum Offices in Attica, the regions of Northern and Southern Evros, Lesvos and Rhodes and mobile asylum units in Amygdaleza, Thessaloniki and Patras.