ATHENS — More than 900 persons accorded refugee status are being transferred from the Greek islands to mainland Greece on Tuesday, as part of the effort to decongest the island reception and identification centres.
According to migration and asylum ministry sources, a total of 935 people will be taken off the islands in a ferry that is expected to reach the port of Lavrio in the afternoon. They include 713 refugees from Lesvos, 70 from Leros, 39 from Samos, 49 from Kos and 64 from Chios.
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) teams visited the islands in recent days to register the refugees and those eligible for additional protection under the Helios programme.
According to a migration ministry announcement, the two-month provision of shelter to recognised refugees leaving accommodation facilities on the islands, until they find more permanent accommodation, is provided to avoid the gathering of refugees in the squares of Athens. It is part of the Helios programme and is funded by the European Union.
IOM sources told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) that the refugees, during their two-month stay, will be given assistance in carrying out the necessary administrative procedures to live and work in Greece, such as getting social security and tax numbers, and support in finding a permanent place to stay, in apartments rented in their own name.