Short overview of the reception system
In May 2018, L 4540/2018 transposed the recast Reception Conditions Directive into national law, almost three years after the transposition deadline. In 2019 L. 4540/2018 was replaced by the IPA (L. 4636/2019), which entered into force on 1 January 2020 and was amended with a series of laws (inter alia L. 4686/2020 and L. 4825/2021). The IPA constituted a uniform legislation for the provisions of reception, asylum procedure and recognition of international protection incorporating the relevant EU (recast) Directives (Directive 2013/33/EU, Directive 2013/32/EU and Directive 2011/95/EU).
On 10 June 2022, the IPA (Articles 1-112 and 114) was also replaced by L 4939/2022 (Asylum Code), which constitutes a codification of legislation on reception, international protection of third country nationals and stateless persons, as well as on temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons, which was incorporated as per the provisions of P.D. 80/2006 (A΄ 82), following the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382. Lastly, after the replacement of L. 4554/2018 on guardianship – which was never implemented – by L. 4960/2022 on the National Guardianship System and Framework of Accommodation of Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs), which entered into force on 22 July 2022, the relevant provisions of L. 4960/2022 were also incorporated in the Asylum Code.
Under the Asylum Code, the Reception and Identification Service (RIS) within the Secretariat General of Reception of Asylum Seekers under the Ministry of Migration and Asylum (MoMA) is defined as the authority responsible for reception. The Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors (SSPUM), which was established under the MoMA in February 2020, also remains competent for the protection of UAM, including for their accommodation. Per the aforementioned 2022 legislative changes, the SSPUM now also has general competency over the guardianship of UAMs, which was previously under the National Centre for Social Solidarity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
With regard to the composition of the reception system, the core change in 2022 has been the termination of the ESTIA accommodation scheme, which provided rented housing to vulnerable asylum applicants in the context of reception. The scheme, which since January 2021 has operated under the sole responsibility of the MoMA, was terminated at the end of the year, amidst increased concerns for former residents, such as families that had already started the integration process and children who were enrolled to school, who upon exiting ESTIA, were frequently left to their fate or on the streets or forced to interrupt their education (school). The programme’s termination, which had been announced by the MoMA in February 2022, also signifies the transformation of Greece’s reception system into one near exclusively modelled on camp-based accommodation.
Notwithstanding this, overall, in 2022, island RICs – including the newly established Closed-Controlled Centres – and mainland camps, as well as the ESTIA scheme remained the predominant forms of reception. According to the most recent data, from 1 January to 30 September 2022, there were 18,046 referrals for reception to the RIS. Of these, 8,502 (47%) were made by the Asylum Service, 6,900 (38%) by the Police, 1,591 (9%) by Social Support or Protection Services (SSPUM / NCSS) and 1,053 (6%) by health services.
During the same period, there were 9,423 registrations, 2,174 of which concerned persons aged between 0-17 and 3,146 vulnerable persons (amongst whom 1,314 UAMs, 1,086 victims of physical abuse and 121 victims of trafficking).  The majority of those registered were from Syria (22,7%), followed by people from Palestine (13,8%), Somalia (13,3%) and from Afghanistan (11,2%). The majority of registrations took place in Orestiada (3,392 registrations, including 305 of UAMs), followed by Lesvos (1,853 registrations, including 496 of UAMs), Samos (1,486 registrations, including 162 of UAMs), Kos (1,109 registrations, including 69 of UAMs), Chios (806 registrations, including 185 of UAMs) and Leros (777 registrations, including 97 of UAMs).
EUAA support: In 2022, the EUAA provided Greek authorities with 60 containers, out of which 17 to be used as asylum interview rooms, and 43 as administrative offices or destined to other uses.
 L 4960/2022 National Guardianship System and Framework of Accommodation of UAMs and other provisions under the jurisdiction of the MoMA.
 Article 1(ιστ΄) Asylum Code.
 EfSyn, ‘Ανέστιοι πρόσφυγες χωρίς το ESTIA’, 24 December 2022, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3YYaWjw; News24/7, ‘The government threw mothers with underage children on the streets’, 10 December 2022, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3lFktO2 and GCR, ‘Evictions, Homelessness and setbacks to integration’, 30 November 2022, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3S9uwHz.
 MoMA / General Secretariat for the Reception of Asylum Seekers / Reception and Identification Service / R.I.Cs and C.C.A.Cs Directorate, Registered TCNs/stateless persons (by age group) 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3OuNZm9.
 MoMA / General Secretariat for the Reception of Asylum Seekers / Reception and Identification Service / R.I.Cs and C.C.A.Cs Directorate, Registered TCNs/stateless persons per category of vulnerability 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3OuNZm9.
 MoMA / General Secretariat for the Reception of Asylum Seekers / Reception and Identification Service / R.I.Cs and C.C.A.Cs Directorate, Registered TCNs/stateless persons per Nationality 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3OuNZm9.
 MoMA / General Secretariat for the Reception of Asylum Seekers / Reception and Identification Service / R.I.Cs and C.C.A.Cs Directorate, Registered TCNs/stateless persons per place of registration 2022 and Unaccompanied minors per place of registration 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3OuNZm9.
 Information provided by the EUAA, 28 February 2023.