The government expects that the implementation of new legislation introduced since the beginning of the year will expedite the asylum processing procedure, which will in turn help decongest shelters and camps hosting migrants around the country.
At the beginning of December, 83,683 first-instance asylum applications were pending. Another 57,335 second-instance applications were also pending.
The most serious bottlenecks are on the islands due to the constant arrivals of migrants from the nearby Turkish coast. In some cases, they have to wait more than six months to file an asylum claim.
On Lesvos in 2019, 18,800 asylum applications were registered out of total of 54,000 across the country.
According to officials, the slow pace of asylum applications has also had an impact on the rate of migrant returns to their countries of origin. Priority will be given to Syrian asylum applications.