Greece: Departures of Migrants Double the Number of Arrivals in Jan-May 2021

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this Monday, March 29, 2021, file photo, migrants inside a refugee camp watch the visit of EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson in the port of Vathy on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, Greece. (AP Photo/Michael Svarnias, File)

ATHENS -- The departures of asylum seekers and migrants from Greece were double the total number of arrivals in the first five months of 2021, according to migration and asylum ministry figures on Wednesday.

Specifically, 4,951 persons either left either for European countries or were sent to non-EU countries via the deportation and return mechanisms for third-country nationals. During the same time period, 2,981 arrivals were recorded at the Aegean islands and at the Evros border, decreased by 68 percent compared with arrivals in the first five months of 2020 (9,421 arrivals).

A total of 10,289 asylum seekers were being hosted on the island on May 31, 2021, 71 percent down in comparison with May 2020.

In terms of the permanent residence permit for investors (Golden Visa), the Chinese topped the list of recipients (71 percent) followed by the Turks (6.2 percent) and the Russians (5.5 percent).

In a statement, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said that an "important chapter of the National Strategy for Migration 2020-2021 is that of deportations and returns. A new draft bill prepared by the ministry will be released for public consultation within the next few days toward this end."