Research Institute for European and American Studies
Newsletter on Immigration to Greece
Editor: Ioannis Kolovos
Despite the vast increase in illegal immigrant inflow the number of asylum applications in Greece remains low
According to the latest data of the Hellenic Asylum Service, in the period from January to July 2015, 7,469 asylum applications have been submitted.
Turkish migrant smugglers give forged Syrian passports to illegal immigrants
Frontex's Executive Director Mr Fabrice Leggeri pointed out that a large network operates in Turkey which sells forged Syrian passports to illegal immigrants. He also emphasized that due to the great inflow not all immigrants are being screened and thus there is no full picture of the actual profile of all these immigrants
There is a significant backlog in the identification and screening of immigrants
According to official European Commission data, out of the 160,000 illegal immigrants who were arrested in Greece during the January-July 2015 period, only 55,000 have been fingerprinted.
European Directive on Asylum fosters illegal immigration
Mr Pericles Nearchou, former Ambassador of Cyprus in Paris, pointed out that the application of the European Directive on Asylum essentially leads to increased illegal immigration.
An interesting view on the reason behind the large inflow of illegal immigrants from Turkey to Greece
An unnamed Greek Secret Services official argued that Turkish authorities' 'inactivity' in blocking the flow of illegal immigrants and refugees may be a 'concession' to ISIS fundamentalists, as these flows may consist to a large extent by people supportive of the Assad regime.
Illegal immigrant inflow in 2015 will be the highest of the last 25 years!
According to Hellenic Police data for the first eight months of 2015 the arrests for illegal entry and/or illegal stay reached 271,156, more than six times as many as in the same period of 2014 (41,935 arrests). If this trend continues for the rest of the year the inflow of illegal immigrants to Greece will be the highest ever recorded!
On the presence of jihadists in Greece
The (former) deputy Minister of Public Order Mr Yiannis Panoussis argued in an interview that there is no organized presence of jihadists' networks in Greece and that the only - so far -detected jihadists travelled through Greece legally, as they owned European passports.
Unemployment much higher for foreign nationals
According to the latest Labor Force Survey (2nd quarter of 2015) the unemployment rate of foreign nationals was much higher compared to the Greeks (29.6% compared to 24.1% respectively).
Voluntary repatriation of illegal immigrants has decreased considerably in 2015
According to IOM data only 2,979 illegal immigrants have so far been voluntarily repatriated from Greece in 2015, compared with 7,357 in 2014 and 9,314 in 2013.
Greece should not accept the creation of "hotspots" on its soil
Mr Pericles Nearchou, former Ambassador of Cyprus in Paris, argued that the creation of "hotspots" on Greek soil, coupled with the low rate of repatriation of illegal immigrants, will lead to the aggravation of Greece's illegal immigration issue.
The high cost of refugee and illegal immigrant inflow
The Ministry of Finance made an estimation of the direct and indirect costs to the Greek economy from the increased inflow of refugees and illegal immigrants to the Aegean Islands.