ATHENS – While transfers to the mainland of refugees and migrants on five Greek islands holding more than 38,000 were put in limbo during the COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown, authorities said 60 hotels hosting some will be closed by the end of the year.
The migrants and refugees living in them will be moved elsewhere, said Kathimerini in a report on the plans about 93 island facilities near the coast of Turkey which has allowed human traffickers to keep sending more during an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union.
Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said during a training seminar that 32 governors that have been appointed to oversee facilities on the mainland and that the transfers would take place to relieve overcrowding.
“It will be the first time that these facilities will have governors, who will report directly to the Greek state,” Mitarakis said.
The development comes ahead of the scheduled eviction, as of June 1, of some 11,000 refugees who have been given asylum but are still living in reception facilities and subsidized hotels, chiefly on the mainland.
The New Democracy government had suspended asylum applications during the pandemic and said any new arrivals as of March 1 wouldn’t be eligible to apply and would be deported to their homelands right away.