Thou­sands of asy­lum claims pend­ing de­spite in­flux drop

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Thou­sands of asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions re­main pend­ing even though the in­flux of un­doc­u­mented mi­grants into Greece from neigh­bor­ing Turkey has plum­meted over the past year.

A to­tal of 2,627 mi­grants landed on the is­lands of the east­ern Aegean from Turkey be­tween Jan­uary 1 and March 5 this year, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data. In the same pe­riod last year, that num­ber was 121,426.

How­ever, the re­cep­tion cen­ters for mi­grants on those is­lands re- main ex­ces­sively over­crowded as the ma­jor­ity of the 14,018 peo­ple in the fa­cil­i­ties have lodged asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions. Even those who are not el­i­gi­ble have also ap­plied in a bid to win more time to plan their on­ward jour­neys to­ward west­ern and north­ern Europe.

Ac­cord­ing to the head of Greece’s Asy­lum Ser­vice, Maria Stavropoulou, the pace of pro­cess­ing asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions has picked up slightly in the past few months after dozens of ad­di­tional staff were re­cruited.

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