Greece > Overview
Greece is one of the major countries where people are entering the European Union through the Turkish-Greek borders (at land and sea). The EU has put a lot of pressure on the Greek government to close these external borders and invested into its closure by sending Frontex – officers of a specialized EU-border agency – and by funding “border security”. Despite increasing difficulties to cross the border, until today Greece remains one of the main transit countries for migrants trying to enter the EU.
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Greece > Dublin II
Greece used to be a major receiving member state under the Dublin II Regulation, due to its geographical position. However, following the decision of the ECtHR in the case of MSS v. Belgium and Greece, the majority of Member and Associate States under the Dublin II Regulation have suspended the transfer of asylum seekers to Greece.
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Greece > Asylum
You can ask for asylum all over Greece before the police – also if you are in the prison. The police will first register you claim, give you a Pink Card (temporary residence permit for asylum seekers valid for 3 or 6 months and renewable) and an appointment for your asylum interview. Attention: In Athens but also in other major cities of Greece there are many persons who want to apply for asylum and it can be very difficult to get access because the police does not accept many applications per week.
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Greece > Minors
Minors are often held in detention what is officially not allowed. Their age is often changed by the authorities to make them older.
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Greece > Detention
Most of the immigrants in Greece are in prison for “illegal entry”, “illegal stay” or “illegal exit”. That means, for not having valid papers. The police then usually issues an administrative detention decision and a deportation order – even if they cannot deport most of the immigrants. Detention can endure for a few days and up to 18 months in the worst case
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Greece > Living
As an asylum seeker you can apply for housing before the authorities. Ask for help in one of the organizations and apply in any way – even if the chances to receive housing support are very low. Unfortunately, there are only 662 places available in open reception centers for adults in Greece and 338 for unaccompanied minors.
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Greece > Racist Attacks
Unfortunately there have been recently many racist attacks against migrants in Greece some of which were conducted by police officers. If you have been attacked, go to a doctor in a hospital and after the treatment try to get also the medical document which you might later need. If you have no valid papers you can also go to an organization such as the Doctors of the World or Praksis to get support.
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Greece > Family reunification
Families might find themselves in a situation where one person went first to a specific country, and his/her family-member has remained behind in another European country - for example the mother in Norway and the underage son in Greece. In that case, you have the possibility to ask for family reunification.
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Greece > Medical Assistance
Asylum seekers have free access to medical care in Greek public hospitals. Everybody has to pay 5 Euros to see a doctor. With the "white paper" you can only access public hospitals in emergency cases. Otherwise you have to visit NGO run polyclinics (PRAKSIS, Doctors of the World) which have doctors or might arrange for you to visit a public hospital in difficult cases.
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Greece > Work
In Greece every person who has applied for asylum gets a "pink card" and is through this allowed to work.
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Greece > Reports
Here you may find reports about the refugees situation in Greece, done by activist-groups and NGOs who are close to the network Welcome to Europe.
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