In the wake of the increased number of migrant arrivals in Athens as part of the decongestion of the Aegean islands, with many setting up camp in central Victoria Square, the Migration Ministry has, belatedly, started procedures for their inclusion in the HELIOS program for recognized asylum seekers.
Launched in August 2019, HELIOS is the only refugee integration program that operates in Greece. It provides a housing allowance and Greek language courses, as well as vocational guidance services and is run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with funding from the European Commission.
However, only 10% of the refugees who arrived in Athens from the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos had applied to join this program.
About 2,000 people left centers on the islands between the beginning of June and last Friday.