A new voluntary program will see more than 5,000 asylum seekers and refugees from Greece relocated across Europe according to a recent announcement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which aims to support vulnerable groups and build solidarity between member states of the European Union (EU).
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with EASO, UNHCR and UNICEF, supports the Greek Government, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the Special Secretary for the Protection of Migrant Children Unaccompanied Persons and the Secretary General for Migration Policy in the relocation of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection from Greece to other European countries.
The voluntary mechanism aims to prepare and relocate 5,200 vulnerable asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection, including 1,600 unaccompanied migrant children (UMC) and children with serious illnesses accompanied by family members.
IOM works with its partners and other contracted organizations (ARSIS, Merimna, METAdrasi, PRAKSIS, Syn-eirmos, Terre des Hommes, Solidarity Now, Zeuxis) to ensure that all beneficiaries travel safely and dignified and to prepare before departure with enhanced skills and information to facilitate their integration in the Member State of Relocation (MSR). The project is funded by the Directorate for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission.
Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 refugees have come from Ukraine to Greece since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
In particular, 9,875 Ukrainian citizens crossed the border, including 3,201 minors.
Many of these Ukrainian citizens include ethnic Greeks from the Mariupol region.
Last week, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi announced the opening of new registration centers for Ukrainian refugees at regional asylum offices in Patras, Thessaloniki, Heraklion and Athens.
“As we have specified, Greece will offer a 12-month residence and work permit to people who, due to the Russian invasion, have been forced to leave their homes,” he said after his visit to the regional asylum office in Thessaloniki.
“They will go to the centers after pre-registration which will be done digitally to receive their 12-month permit identity card and, at the same time, to receive their social security number (AMKA) and tax registration number ( AFM) to make it easier for them to adapt during the period when Greece is offering them hospitality,” said Mitarachi.
Later, Mitarachi left for the city of Serres to visit the passport control center at the Promachonas border post, where a reception and identification center of the Ministry of Migration operates.
He also visited the center for refugees and migrants in Sintiki.