Migrants waiting to be registered in a camp set up for refugees from Afghanistan near Moria on the island of Lesbos, Greece | Credit: Photo archive/EPA
Migrants waiting to be registered in a camp set up for refugees from Afghanistan near Moria on the island of Lesbos, Greece | Credit: Photo archive/EPA

The Greek Migration Policy Ministry is reportedly considering extending the residence permits of migrants and refugees staying in Greece due to a huge backlog of applications that has built up in the wake of its IT system breaking down last month.

The Greek Ministry of Migration Policy is reportedly considering extending the residence permits of migrants and refugees staying in Greece due to a huge backlog of applications that has built up in the wake of its IT system breaking down last month.


The system breakdown happened on January 18, 2018, and has resulted in hundreds of migrants being left without legal documentation as they have been unable to extend their permits.The government is expected to take a decision on how to deal with this over the next few days 

'All necessary measures must be taken' for migrants 

"We once again call on the Ministry of Migration Policy and those responsible to take care of all those people living in a state of complete uncertainty and immediately take all the necessary measures in order to process the applications," the Greek-based nonprofit group Generation 2.0 said in a press statement.

The group, which has been campaigning for months about the delays in the issuing of residency permits for migrants, has demanded a ministerial decree to solve the problem by extending all the residence permits which expired in the last quarter.

Generation 2.0 also called for "the immediate recruitment of permanent personnel in the immigration directorates" and requested that public servants working in immigration be provided with incentives. 

Greece's Vivi Michou gets EC migration appointment 

In a related development 24 hours earlier, the European Commission announced the appointment of Greek national Vivi Michou to the post of director-general of its Migration and Home Affairs Department. She is the first woman to hold the post in a historic appointment, which will take effect from March 1. According to a press release issued by the European Commission, Michou will work directly alongside Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who is also Greek. 

Over 12,000 migrants registered at Moria 

Meanwhile, the government has released official figures for the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, showing the size of the problems encountered on the North East Aegean islands. A total of 12,726 migrants and refugees, coming from 64 different countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America, and even as far away as the Caribbean, were registered at the official processing center at Moria during 2017. According to the report, 40 percent of the arrivals processed at the center were men, 24 percent were women and 36 percent were minors.

Although many nationalities are represented a the camp, in 2017 there were 5,281 Syrians registered, as well as 2,184 Afghans and 1,800 Iraqis. There was also 826 people from Congo who were registered, 352 from Cameroon, 341 from Iran and 282 from Algeria.The remaining 1,660 asylum seekers hailed from 57 other countries, according to the data.

Like many other migrant camps on the Greek islands close to Turkey, Moria is struggling with overcrowding caused by a constant stream of new arrivals and lengthy delays in asylum procedures that have resulted in a backlog. Refugees are being left stranded in camps for months.

The Moria camp did not provide any additional figures on the number of refugees and migrants whose asylum applications were successful, or on those who were deported after being denied entry into the European Union. 
 

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