Number of asylum seekers at islands drops by 76 pct, says migration ministry

he number of asylum seekers residing at Greek island facilities has dropped by 76 pct compared to October 2020, the Migration & Asylum Ministry said on Tuesday.

The number of asylum seekers residing in similar facilities across the country dropped by 47 pct compared to the same time last year.

The largest decrease is recorded among those living in Samos by 92 pct, followed by Chios with 91 pct, Leros with 88 pct, Lesvos with 65 pct, and Kos with 54 pct.

Arrival flows in the first ten months of 2021 reduced by 67 pct in islands and by 46 pct in the rest of the mainland, compared to the first ten months of 2020.

After systematic efforts, in the first ten months of 2021, 9,794 people left for Europe or third countries through mechanisms of expulsion, return and relocation of third-country nationals, while 7,242 people arrived in Greece, with the balance of departures/arrivals remaining positive, reads the ministry’s new report.

In October 2020, a total of 71,247 asylum seekers resided in all the structures managed or supervised by the Ministry of Migration & Asylum, while in October 2021, the number is 37,951.

Pending cases at the Asylum Service and the Appeals Authority recorded a decrease of 52 pct, reaching a total of 41,951, when in October 2020 there were 87,922 such cases.

Regarding mobility in legal migration and especially Golden Visas, the main country of origin of investors in Greece are Chinese nationals, at a rate of 67.8 pct, followed by Turkish nationals (64 pct) and Russians (6 pct). In October 2020 – October 2021 some 2,030 applications for the initial residence permit and 343 applications for the renewal of residence were submitted.

“Despite the fact that the pandemic crisis continues, there is mobility in the field of legal migration,” said Migration & Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi.

“Greece will continue to follow the same strict but fair migration policy that brings results. We have a clear position against smuggling, but in favor of legal migration,” he noted.