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Greece’s New Legislation for Asylum Seekers – Summary in ENG

Below is a Summary of Greece’s New Asylum Legislation voted last week. The Legislation was approved by the Greek Parliament in order to facilitate the implementation of Eu Turkey Deal. The Bill contains important charges for asylum seekers.

Summary in English

Greece’s New Asylum Legislation: What Will Change?

The Greek Parliament has voted to pass legal amendments related to the EU-Turkey agreement of March 18.

The new law — “Common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection” (Law 4357/2016) — will enable the Greek government to implement the EU-Turkey Agreement, related to the new asylum procedures and the οperation of hotspots.

The law entered into force on April 3. It is available online in Greek — the notes below refer to this document.

If you are an asylum seeker:

  • New applications for asylum, registered at the borders or in camps, will be examined and processed within 7 days (see art. 60 of the above linked law, page 44)
  • The registration of the application for asylum can be made exceptionally by police or army officers (see art. 60, page 44)
  • Appeals against a negative decision will be examined and processed with a final decision within 7 days by newly established Appeal Committees (see art. 60, page 44)
  • The appeals process is made on the basis of file examination without the presence of the applicant, and Appeals Committee decides whether the applicant will be interviewed or not. The seeker can still request to be interviewed two days before the appeal process starts (see art. 62, page 45).
  • Unaccompanied children and vulnerable asylum seekers (eg., victims of torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence,  traumatized individuals such as victims of shipwreck), are excluded from the fast-track procedure (see art. 45, page 36)
  • Previous applications for asylum: Asylum seekers who filed an application between 5 and 15 years ago whose application is still at appeal stage, will be given a residence permit for humanitarian reasons for 2 years (see art. 22, page 23)

If you are in a hotspot (see art. 14, page 16):

  • If you are needed for identification purposes, refugees can be kept in the hotspots up to three days after a decision of the administrator/commander of the hotspot
  • If the process of identification is not finished in three days, the restriction can be prolonged up to 25 days from the date of entry in the hotspot
  • You have the right to appeal against the extension of the limitation of the freedom of movement to an administrative court in the region where the hotspot is located

If you are a refugee you can be detained:

  • An asylum seeker can be detained only under exceptional circumstances (see exceptions below); after an individual assessment, and only if alternative measures can not be implemented and under specific circumstances (see art. 46, pages 37-38)
  • Exceptions: detention can be applied if there are difficulties in determining your identity or origin; if the authorities think there is a risk that you can escape before being returned to Turkey/your country of origin; if there are reasonable grounds that you are applying only to prevent the return decision; or if you are considered a danger to national security
  • The detention, in centres for refugees, separately from criminal prisoners, can be up to 45 days
  • Detention can be prolonged for another 45 days
  • Refugees who are detained have the right to appeal against their detention to an administrative court

The new legislation provides for the creation of the Social Integration Service, an institution that will work with refugees who are granted asylum in Greece (see art. 31, page 28); the expansion of the Asylum Service, with more offices in several areas around the country (see art. 20, page 21); the extension of the right to work to include beneficiaries of subsidiary protections and to those who hold a residence permit for humanitarian reasons (see art. 69, page 47).


Great thanks to @StevePeers, Professor of EU Law & Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, who uploaded it on Twitter.

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  1. It sounds like every thing is coming together – at last.
    Well done.
    Just one thing – there are still a few million persons who are on their way to the EU.
    The Palestinians are leaving Palestine.
    Saudi’s are taking the oppertunity to leave.
    The war in Yemen has caused persons to leave.
    Iran is said to have opened the door & turned a blind eye to anyone The who wants to leave.
    Egyptians are on there way.
    The Lebanese fearing war after the USA is finished destroying Syria.
    2-3-4- million people are on their way to the EU.
    Won’t Erdogan be surprized.

    • How is putting the EU’s international commitment to humanitarian protection in the hands of Turkey “coming together”? It is a blatant denial of human rights in Europe — laughable when you consider that one of the reasons for keeping Turkey out of the EU is its lack of commitment to human rights. This is pure hypocrisy and cant.