More than 540,000 immigrants in the Greek islands

More than 540,000 immigrants in the Greek islands

Athens, November 11, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

According to Frontex, more than 540,000 immigrants arrived in the Greek islands in the first ten months of 2015. This figure is 13 times higher than in the corresponding period of 2014. Based on the announcement of the european organisation, the Syrians remain the majority of arrivals, although in recent weeks there has been an increase in the number of Afghans.

In particular, more than 150,000 people have attempted the journey from Turkey to Greece last month, while in October 2014 the corresponding figure was less than 8,500.

In the first ten months of 2015, the illegal crossings of European borders in the Western Balkans reached approximately 500,000, mainly at the border of Hungary and Croatia with Serbia. The majority of immigrants detected in the area had earlier reached one of the Greek islands and from there traveled to central Europe through FYROM and Serbia.

Frontex employs 114 officers on Lesbos and other Greek islands, which help local authorities in the identification and registration of new arrivals. These include 37 officers in the hot spot of Lesbos, where Frontex is completing a pilot rapid registration program to reduce migrants’ waiting times. According to an announcement, Frontex has offered to increase its presence at the Greek borders with FYROM and Albania, as well as at Croatia’s border with Serbia.