Predefined Project: Quality assurance of asylum procedures and free legal aid to vulnerable asylum seekers

Project Promoter: UNHCR
Outcome: Operational procedures and capacity of the Greek Asylum Service and Appeal Committees improved
Project grant rate: 100%
Maximum project grant amount: 3,000,000 euros
Status: Completed

The project achieved to provide the necessary support to the Asylum Service to set up a quality assurance mechanism (via developing centrally the Asylum Service’s Quality tools and SOPs and by providing continuous support to new and more experienced caseworkers in a very large caseload of complicated cases), to increase its presence regionally (to Offices across the country), while continuing to provide legal aid at first and second instance in complementarity with the Registry of lawyers of the Asylum Service.

In total, the project reached 7.415 legal aid beneficiaries (asylum seekers and refugees), supporting men and women (5.022 and 2.393 respectively). This number exceeded by far the number of planned target of 4.500 beneficiaries, reflecting the increased need for legal aid in the areas of intervention.

With regards to Output 3.1 results “Expert support to the Greek Asylum Service”, UNHCR deployed 18 Associate Asylum Experts (AAEs) to the Asylum Service all over Greece and 5 employees to the Asylum Service centrally, constituting UNHCR’s quality assurance team, whereas with regards to Output 3.2 results “Free legal aid to vulnerable asylum seekers related to first instance asylum procedures”, UNHCR deployed 41 lawyers (15 in the mainland and Crete and 26 for the border areas), exceeding the target by one person. During the implementation period, the legal aid needs were increased. In total, UNHCR supported the Asylum Service in 12,490 instances corresponding to 10,201 cases examined by the AS, which represented 32% of total decisions issued by the AS. Moreover, UNHCR reviewed 200 decisions and shared key-points.

Moreover, UNHCR, in cooperation with the Quality Department of the Asylum Service, delivered numerous urgently needed trainings, workshops and group-sessions to Asylum Service caseworkers. Ιn total 69 days of training in various RAOs/AAUs with up to 40 participants were delivered.

Free legal aid component:

In mainland, legal aid has been provided mainly at reception desks at the partner’s premises to 4,691 beneficiaries. On the islands and Evros, legal aid services were provided to 2,724 beneficiaries, within Reception and Identification Centers, where most of the population reside, and other (open) accommodation facilities (e.g. Kara Tepe). In complementarity with legal aid services and to maximise the impact of legal aid, 3,620 beneficiaries were also provided with social support through social workers, and interpretation services were ensured for all the aforementioned beneficiaries.