Portugal and Greece finalized an agreement last week to relocate 1,000 asylum-seekers from Greece to Portugal, said the Greek Minister for Migration Policy Dimitris Vitsas.
The Portugal program will start with a trial where just 100 asylum-seekers will be accepted from Greece. According to Vitsas’ Facebook page, this first group would consist mainly of families and vulnerable people who are staying in camps and have been granted or are seeking asylum.
If the trial goes well, Portugal plans to accept 1,000 by the end of 2019.
Participants must first apply for asylum in Greece, Portugal’s interior minister said in a statement in October. Portuguese authorities will then interview eligible asylum-seekers in Greece to determine if they can be relocated to Portugal to complete the asylum procedure, the statement said.
It isn’t clear yet who will be selected, when the first transfers will start, and whether asylum-seekers can ask to participate in the relocation project. We’ll update you with the latest information as soon as we get it.
The Greek Minister for Migration Policy and Portugal’s interior minister first agreed to the program in October 2018. They shortly submitted a draft of the agreement to the European Commission to request funding.
This is not a new, Europe-wide relocation program and no other countries other than Greece and Portugal are participating.
During the Relocation Program that took place between 2016 and 2017, Portugal accepted 1,192 asylum-seekers from Greece.
Header image: Getty Images / Patrícia de Melo Moreira