More than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in 2015 and early 2016. The number of arrivals declined after the Balkan border was closed in March 2016 and the European Union and Turkey implemented a deal designed to curb the flow of migrants into Greece.
The influx began increasing again from the second half of 2017, when the government began taking over full responsibility for Greece’s refugee response.
In May 2018, the number of refugees and migrants in Greece stood at more than 60,000, including about 14,000 on the islands. In the phase after the emergency, UNHCR began focusing again on protection, which had been important before the crisis. UNHCR runs the EU-funded ESTIA accommodation and cash assistance programmes in cooperation with the government and municipalities, which should ultimately take over the scheme.
ESTIA will remain our most important project in 2018 and will continue to be funded by the EU in 2019. UNHCR will maintain an important, but lighter, presence while supporting the government. As more asylum seekers have their applications accepted, we shall campaign for the rights of refugees. More than 23,000 people were refugees or had subsidiary protection status between 2013 and May 2018. UNHCR will support the government as it develops integration policies and laws in 2018-2019.
Updated 22 June 2018.
For information about our work in Greece:
- Information for refugees and asylum seekers in Greece – help.unhcr.org
- Visit our country website - Greece | Ελλάδα (ελληνικά)
- For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.
The UNHCR Representative in Greece
91 Michalakopoulou Street, GR11528 Athens, Greece
UNHCR Representation in Greece, 91 Michalakopoulou Street, GR11528 Athens, Greece
+30 216 200 7800
+30 210 672 6417
GMT + 2
Monday: 9:00 - 17:30
Tuesday: 9:00 - 17:30
Wednesday: 9:00 - 17:30
Thursday: 9:00 - 17:30
Friday: 9:00 - 16:00
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