The Greek Asylum Service was established by law 3907/2011 and it is the first specialized instance in the country, competent to adjudicate on applications for international protection.
The objective of the Service , according to the law, is to apply the national legislation and to abide to the country's international obligations regarding the recognition of refugee status and, more generally, granting international protection to aliens who have fled their country due to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and who are unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country. to this objective, the law provides that the Asylum Service shall receive, examine and decide on all applications for international protection lodged in Greece. The Asylum Service shall also contribute to the formulation of the Greek policy on international protection and shall cooperate with international organisation and the European Union institutions in the areas of its remit.
In addition, the Asylum Service shall provide the administrative support to the new Appeals' Authority, also established by the same law, which will examine, at second instance, appeals against negative decisions on applications for international protection.
The Asylum Service is an autonomous body reporting directly to the Minister for Citizen Protection; it is headed by a Director appointed by the Minister for Citizen Protection, following a public call of interest, for a three-year term. Dr. Ioannis Papageorgiou was the first Director of Asylum Service from 1.9.21011 till 31.1.2012. Since 4.2.2012 Ms. Maria Stavropoulou has been appointed as Director of the Asylum Service.
Ms. Maria Stavropoulou is a lawyer working on migration and refugee issues since 1990. From 1990 until 2011 she worked for the United Nations in Athens, Geneva, New York and other countries. Until August 2011 she was working as senior regional protection officer at UNHCR’s Regional Representation in Rome. She has taught on asylum and refugee issues at the National Center for Public Administration of Greece, the National School of Judges and the Police Academy. Ms. Stavropoulou has an LL.M. degree on human rights and asylum from Harvard Law School and and LL.M. degree on European Law from the University College London. She has graduated from the Legal Department of the Athens Law School, where she is a Ph.D. candidate. She has knowledge of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Ms. Stavropoulou has a fourteen-year old daughter.