Asylum seekers being blocked out of job market and health system, say NGOs


Thousands of asylum seekers trapped in Greece by slow bureaucracy are facing problems in being issued a social security number and tax identification code that would allow them to look for work and have access to public healthcare as they wait for the applications to be processed.

The issue was brought to the forefront in a written complaint on Thursday signed by 25 nongovernmental organizations and addressed to the ministries of Migration, Interior, Health, Administrative Reform, Labor, Economy and Finance.

The NGOs also claim to have received complaints from asylum seekers who were denied these documents outright or asked to produce impossible documents that could only be provided by state services in their war-torn home countries.

The delays in processing asylum applications, the NGOs said, set off “a chain reaction that results in claimants being denied their fundamental rights.”