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Society

Asylum Applications Jump in Greece, Including Venezuelans, Colombians

February 21, 2024

ATHENS – In a ninth year of seeing refugees and migrants coming – first hoping to reach other European countries before borders were closed to them – Greece is dealing with an uptick in the numbers seeking asylum.

Some 10,285 want sanctuary in Greece while being held in detention camps on the mainland and on islands near Turkey, where most had first gone fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands.

Data from the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat also showed that other countries are seeing a surge, including Germany, Italy, France and Spain although regulations require asylum can only be sought in the first country in which a refugee lands, Greece being a favored destination.

In November 2023, 108,950 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in EU countries, an 11% increase compared with November 2022 (97 800).

Syrians fleeing a long-running civil war and unrest make up most of the applicants, followed by Turks escaping the authoritarian rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Afghans. But there are South Americans too, primarily from Venezuela and Colombia who want to make Greece home.

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