The International Migration Organization and Greece have reportedly laid a plan with additional financial incentives to rejected asylum seekers. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, the incentives are thought in order to discourage asylum seekers from appealing the decision and stay longer in the country. The cash grant is double the bonus currently given to refugees and migrants to voluntarily return home.
Greece can hardly cope with the high number of asylum applications. An extra bonus is now to ensure that fewer refugees appeal the asylum rejection.
Rejected asylum seekers in Greece may receive additional financial incentives to prevent them from appealing. The so-called Cash Grant is intended to encourage refugees to voluntarily return to their homes.
The International Migration Organization (IMO) presented the plan jointly with the Greek government. The proposal is aimed at migrants in the so-called hotspots, the overcrowded camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Leros, Samos and Kos. At present there are about 8,600 people there. The aim is to significantly relieve the overwhelmed asylum procedures in Greece. Last year, the number of asylum applications had more than quadrupled by almost 50,000 compared to 2015.
According to IOM, the returnees receive a “bonus” of 500 euros, which is paid out at the airport on the day of their departure. This means that IOM and Greece are doubling the current financial aid for returnees to €1,000. So far, the amount – a grant to refugees from all over the world – was designed to fund basic needs. The EU Commission is funding the project: three-quarters of the funds for the return trip come from the EU.
Especially vulnerable persons – women, children, seniors and the disabled – from the hotspots on the islands will receive even 1500 euros. However, not in cash, but non-cash benefits. The subsidy has so far been planned for 5,000 people, a good 16,000 people are eligible for the payments.
Greek Minister of Migration Ioannis Mouzalas announced that the government would publish the directive soon. Rejected asylum seekers have five days for a decision: either they collect the 500-euro bonus – or they file an appeal against the refusal.
Lawyers from human rights organizations are indignant at the project. “It is inconceivable that something like that is supported by an organization like the IMO, which actually represents the rights of people who flee,” says Konstantinos Tsitselikis, professor at the Greek University of Macedonia and chairman of the Hellenic League for Human Rights. It is “just as monstrous that the government finances such a plan instead of fighting against it.” (DerSpiegel)