Athens eras­ing asy­lum back­log

Sources say 97.5 per­cent of 84,000 claims sub­mit­ted un­der old sys­tem pro­cessed

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece has taken a sig­nif­i­cant step to­ward restor­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of its asy­lum sys­tem as – ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data from sources within the Mi­gra­tion Pol­icy Min­istry – au­thor­i­ties have pro­cessed 97.5 per­cent of a back­log of about 84,000 claims sub­mit­ted un­der the old pro­ce­dure in place be­fore 2011. Progress has been achieved mostly due to an amend­ment to Law 4375/2016. Adopted af­ter an EU-Turkey deal aimed at stem­ming mi­grant flows into Europe, the law in­tro­duced changes to the in­sti­tu­tional frame­work. Now ap­pli­cants for in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion who lodged a claim more than five years ago, have a pend­ing ap­peal and pos­sess a valid asy­lum seeker’s per­mit are granted a res­i­dence per­mit on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds. The mea­sure af­fects about 800 cases. “It’s a fair de­ci­sion as th­ese peo­ple have lived in the coun­try for many years with no fi­nal de­ci­sion on their cases with­out it be­ing their fault. They have be­come in­te­grated and grown ties with Greece. Some may have even made a fam­ily here,” Maria Stavropoulou, the Greek Asy­lum ser­vice chief, told Kathimerini. With the same amend­ment that was voted in Par­lia­ment last week, peo­ple with pend­ing ap­peals un­der the old sys­tem who have not ap­peared be­fore the au­thor­i­ties to re­new their asy­lum­seeker per­mit for a min­i­mum of eight months are con­sid­ered to have im­plic­itly with­drawn their ap­pli­ca­tions – and their claims are thereby dis­con­tin­ued. As a re­sult, au­thor­i­ties closed books on about 1,800 cases.

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