EASO continues to provide much needed information as more than 13,000 applicants waiting for relocation in Greece
In mid-March, the Greek Asylum Service (GAS) with the support of EASO experts and interpreters finalized the full registration/lodging of all applicants eligible for relocation currently in Greece.
Despite this important achievement, approximately 13,000 applicants continue to wait for their notifications and transfers to the country of relocation. Due in part to the slow pace of Member State pledges, waiting periods for relocation after registration continue to be very long (over 90 days). These applicants, in need of concrete, accurate and reliable information on the relocation procedure, can continue to refer to EASO both in the Athens region and the North of Greece. The EASO hotlines remain operational and receive over 100 calls a week. Roving/mobile teams of EASO experts and interpreters are being expanded in the coming weeks to increase the number of information sessions held in sites across Greece, where applicants awaiting relocation reside. The communication with EASO experts and interpreters can help counteract the multiple rumours and misinformation that are widely circulated among applicants. The continued presence of EASO Asylum Support Teams contributes to enhancing trust in the programme, communicating to applicants that they are not forgotten and that relocation is on-going, although they have been waiting in Greece for over a year. This in turn can contribute to preventing applicants from following the misleading proposals of smugglers and absconding from the process. The most recent visit of one EASO Asylum Support Team was to Ritsona, a site 90 km north of Athens, where experts and interpreters met with residents to provide them with much-needed information. In cooperation with NGOs working in Ritsona, EASO will organize regular information sessions in this site.
Although EASO hotlines and information teams can help to manage applicants’ frustrations, it is essential that the pace of Member State pledges and transfers is increased to reach the target of 3000 persons relocated each month until the end of the programme in September 2017.