The current relocation procedure is not a procedure where the asylum seekers can apply for and be accepted or not. The entire procedure is handled by the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum and its partners. They decide who is eligible and who is not.
The current process concerns mostly unaccompanied minors who are in Reception Identification Centers on the Greek islands (Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios) or in Safe Zones. The process is coordinated by the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors of the Ministry, following a transnational agreement reached with various EU countries. Each country applies its own criteria regarding the number and the vulnerability of the minors that will accept, only known to the Ministry. Germany, for example, has set as criteria to be under the age of 16, not to have any relatives in other EU countries and have no pending criminal proceedings.
IOM in collaboration with EASO, UNHCR and UNICEF is supporting the Greek Government, the Ministry of Migration and Asylum and the Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in relocating unaccompanied minors from Greece to other EU Member States.
How it works
- You will get information about when you will fly to your Relocation country. It could be a few days or months later — every case is different, and each country has its own procedure.
- IOM pays for your accommodation. You can stay until you leave for your Relocation country.
- IOM will cover all the expenses for your medical tests to make sure you can travel safely.
- You will attend orientation sessions about your flight and what to expect in your Relocation country.
- On the day of your flight, IOM Greece will check if you are fit to travel. IOM will help you at the airport in Greece and in your Relocation country.
- You will have an asylum interview in your Relocation country.
- You cannot buy your own tickets. You must wait for the free flights IOM organizes.
- You cannot move to another country without permission until your Relocation country decides on your asylum application. If you decide to move during that time, you will likely be returned to your Relocation country.
If you are accepted
When it is decided which child will go to which country, the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors of the Ministry informs the RIC, in order to prepare the child’s file (e.g to close the asylum case, to issue the prosecutor’s order for its movement etc).
After that the children are sent to Athens, where they stay in IOM’s shelters. Beneficiaries will live in the Transit Hubs (accommodation) until the necessary actions so pre-departure activities will be completed. During your stay and based on the needs, IOM will provide psychological support, legal assistance, interpretation and medical assistance. METAdrasi is responsible to escort the children that are younger than 15.
IOM will prepare and coordinate the transfer and will prepare the integration report. The report will be submitted to the child’s legal guardian to obtain the consent to the child’s transfer to the specific country of arrival (Member State of Relocation, MSR) and authorize escort for the transfer.
IOM will do all the medical assessments so to ensure your health care during the whole process until you arrive to the MSR country and to address public health, safety concerns and the well-being of the project’s beneficiaries. Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 outbreak specific arrangements will be in place, according to the national guidelines of the Greek and country of arrival authorities. For example, Ministry of Health, and the National Public Health Organization (EODY), as well as any requirements imposed by airline companies, such as the conduction of COVID-19 tests to all beneficiaries.
IOM will provide the beneficiaries with updated practical information on the country of arrival (MSR). This includes: - Rights and obligations upon arrival - Asylum procedures in the MSR - Types of available accommodation - Education and training opportunities - Presence of a migrant community - Place of worship - Opportunities for social and athletic activities. - In addition, and a few days prior to departure, IOM staff will provide an information session to the beneficiaries referring to airport and travel procedures (baggage allowance, flight details etc).
If you turn down Relocation
You have the right to refuse the country you are offered, but you do not get a second choice.
If you refuse your Relocation country, the Greek Asylum Service will evaluate your application for asylum in Greece instead.
If you have already signed the statement saying you accept Relocation, you can still leave the program and apply for asylum in Greece. However, you will need to repeat the process, starting with Registration.
If you have questions about your Relocation country, message us on Facebook. We can try to help you learn more about it.
Relocation embassy interview
Once a country has approved you for relocation, it may ask you to attend an interview at its embassy or consulate in Greece. Any country could ask you for an interview, but countries that often ask for interviews are: * France * The Netherlands * Norway * Switzerland * Latvia * Lithuania * Estonia * Ireland
If you are not asked to attend an interview at an embassy after you are accepted for Relocation, don’t worry, some countries don’t ask anyone for an interview, and some ask only a few people.
Countries use Relocation interviews to determine if you could pose a danger to their national security or public order or whether there are other reasons to exclude you from international protection.
All countries that take part in the Relocation Program have the right to collect any information they think is necessary to make these determinations. Because there are no official rules governing these interviews, each country can choose its own format and questions. That means that Ireland may ask people different questions than Switzerland, Norway or any other country does. For example, at the French embassy, interviewers ask some people to explain in detail why they are seeking international protection. Other countries may not ask for this information.
You will most likely be interviewed in your own language or a language that you understand completely, with the help of an interpreter.
How to prepare for the interview
- Be ready to truthfully answer any questions about your past and your life in Greece.
- Review what you told the Greek Asylum Service about yourself so that you do not contradict any of that information at your Relocation interview.
- Write down your story in detail in case the embassy asks you to explain your reasons for seeking asylum. Writing your story down can help you prepare to tell it later.
- Be aware that the interviewer may ask to look at your phone.
- Be aware that the interviewer may ask to look through your social media accounts.
- Be aware that the interviewer may ask to check your WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber or other messages.
- Ask people you know who attended a Relocation interview at your Relocation country’s embassy to share their experience. Remember that each country’s Relocation interview is different.
- You do not have the same rights as you do at interviews or appointments with the Greek Asylum Service.
- You do not have a right to bring a lawyer.
- You do not have a right to a record of your interview.