Social orientation in Greece
Since 1990, Greece has become a country of destination for a significant number of third-country nationals. The country’s geographical location led to receiving, from early in the 1990s, people from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, Albania and the Middle East and Asia due to the fall of the regimes, the collapse of the economies of these countries, low level of economic growth, population size, war conflicts, tensions and political persecution, economic crisis, etc.
From 2015 to today, Greece experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees fleeing war and deprivation in their home countries in the Middle East, south Asia and Africa or in search of a better and safer life in the EU. Until March 2016 Greece being a transit country rather than destination country, its main policy investments focused on reception rather than integration measures. The closure of the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece, which followed, changed the scene. Thousands of refugees and migrants were stranded in Greece often without adequate accommodation, healthcare, and access to education which are the state’s policies priorities.
Under these circumstances the integration prospects for immigrants, refugees and subsidiary protection holders in Greece today remain blurred. Although the legal framework is in place, it is still not fully implemented as there is a lack of a long-standing tradition in policies to support the integration of asylum seekers and refugees in the country.
Currently, in terms of social orientation modules in Greece, language courses are provided by numerous NGOs, universities, voluntary associations and other entities. The “Online information on social benefits for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants” project has created an online platform, that aims to update every refugee and migrant who needs to come into contact with organisations, who offer all kinds of social benefits. The basic services/benefit categories that make up the backbone of the programme include language courses and 40 stakeholders appear to offer such courses for adults TCNs.