NEWS

Greek Asylum Service grappling with backlog of applications

TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Migration

Greece’s Asylum Service is struggling with a backlog of more than 62,000 cases while an estimated 5,500 new applications are submitted every year by people entering the country, Kathimerini understands.

Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 36,683 people were granted asylum (or subsidiary protection status). The exact number of applications pending is currently 62,418, but asylum-seekers have the right to appeal against a denial.

The bulk of asylum applications are made at the service’s offices the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios, as well as in Attica and Thessaloniki, with the latter also responsible for arrivals through the Evros border. One asylum-seeker who recently turned up at the Thessaloniki bureau was given an interview date December 2023.

Authorities say that despite the backlog, the Greek Asylum Service’s processing rate is very high compared with the EU average. “But demands are simply too big,” an official told Kathimerini.

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