Passing through Greece

By Mogiani, Marco | Forced Migration Review, January 2016 | Go to article overview

Passing through Greece


Mogiani, Marco, Forced Migration Review


Until the partial opening of the borders through the Balkans in summer 2015, Patras - Greece's third city and harbour - used to be the main transit port for irregular migrants heading to Italy and the rest of Europe. In 2011, relocation of the port in the southern part of the city prompted hundreds of refugees and migrants to move into an abandoned industrial area just in front of the new port. Mostly Afghans and Sudanese populate these empty factories facing the port, waiting for a chance to sneak under a lorry and embark onto a ferryboat towards Italy.

Among the newcomers, most (mainly of Afghan nationality) chose not to apply for asylum; their only hope is to illegally leave the country before the expiry date of their paper, valid for thirty days, without leaving any trace (or fingerprint). After that term, they would become illegal and possibly face detention. In the Greek asylum system different procedures apply according to the applicant's nationality and to the period in which the asylum application was lodged. …

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