NEWS

Greece prepares to host Ukrainian refugees

Greece prepares to host Ukrainian refugees

About 15 senior government officials, ministers, deputy ministers and general secretaries of ministries, met Friday afternoon to discuss how to deal with the flows of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

The officials discussed the latest data about the Ukrainians in Greece and the formalities of assistance upon entering the country, a government announcement said.

Participants discussed the setup of a web page (https://migration.gov.gr/help-ukraine-online-form/), which citizens, NGOs and other legal entities can access to submit proposals on how they intend to contribute towards assisting Ukrainian war victims.

Until Friday afternoon, 2,704 Ukrainian citizens had been awarded temporary migrant status, of which only 50 applied to be housed in migrant reception centers. There are 5,000 beds available in such centers and they could expand to 30,000, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis said at the meeting.

The EU decided today to award a special 12-month temporary protection status to Ukrainian refugees, bypassing the normal procedures. Starting April 4, a special fast track procedures to identify and provide a special biometric ID to all Ukrainians wishing to stay temporarily in Greece will be in place.

Officials from the Health and Education ministries reported on the readiness of health units and schools to admit Ukrainian refugees. Already, five Ukrainian children are attending Greek schools, under the “Inclusive School” program. The Health ministry will provid coronavirus vaccinations to the unvaccinated refugees and will also send health supplies to hospitals in Ukraine.

The Labor, Agricultural Development, Development and Tourism ministries will look to provide temporary jobs in farming, manufacturing, tourism, catering and technology companies and compile lists of available jobs.

The Interior Ministry has contacted local authorities and the Church of Greece to help with housing and hosting refugees.

Foreign Ministry officials reported on the difficult but successful to evacuate Greek citizens from the Ukraine and efforts made to help Greek expatriates leave the country.