IOM Today

An intergovernmental organization established in 1951, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

  • 157 Members and more than 100 observers
  • More than 480 field locations
  • More than 8,400 staff working on more than 2,600 projects
  • More than US$ 1.3 billion expenditures in 2013

IOM Worldwide

Warning - Internet Scams

Beware of fraudulent offers of migration assistance in the internet or email marketing.

Individuals considering migrating for whatever purpose or destination should take extreme caution in dealing with internet offers or email marketing in light of recent surge in fraudulent schemes.

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Capital Athens
Population (2013): 11.1 million
Area:  13,940 km sq
Languages :  Greek
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
GDP per Capita PPP (2013): USD 25,651
HDI Rank (2013): 29 of 187
Remittances (2013 estimate):  USD 830 million
Net Migration Rate (2010-2015):     0.9 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2013):  8.9%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants  (2013): 46.1%
Population under 15 (2013): 15%
Sources and Definitions


Greece has been traditionally one of the most important emigration countries following the Second World War. Immigration to Greece started in 1980s with immigrants coming mainly from Africa and Asia, but it was limited in scope. As from the beginning of the 1990s, Greece started receiving large inflows of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe following the collapse of the communist regimes.

To cope with this situation, the Greek state implemented three regularization exercises. The main legislative instrument on migration is Law 3386/2005, "Entry, residence and social integration of third country nationals into the Greek territory", providing for the unification of the residence and work permits, as well as introducing the "reflection period" for victims of trafficking. It has been revised under Law 3536/2007, "Determining matters in migration policy and other issues falling into the competence of the Ministry of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization".

According to data from Frontex, Greece is the major gateway of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers from Africa and Asia. In 2011 the European Court of Justice found that 90% of all irregular entry into Europe was through the Greek borders.  Entry points into Greece have also changed.  In the past the usual route was by boat through the Aegean Sea.  Assistance from Frontex in patrolling the sea borders has resulted in a shift to entry by land, especially at the Evros border. Data from the Government of Greece indicates that the largest groups of irregular migrants in 2011 were from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan.  According to Eurostat statistics there are approximately 956,000 foreign nationals residing in Greece: 153,000 from the EU and the remaining 803,000 are third country nationals. Law 3907/2011 is an attempt to establish a realistic migration management system, through the operation of an independent Asylum Service, the establishment of First Reception Centers and the adaptation of Greek legislation to Community Directive 2008/115/EC on the return of irregular migrants.

Regulating Migration


Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns, Re-integration and related information campaign. IOM’s initiatives in Greece include the creation of the necessary mechanism and procedures for the safe, well-ordered and dignified assisted return of third country nationals who no longer fulfill the requirements for entry and/or stay in the Greek territory and who wish to go back to their countries, as well as for the facilitation of their reintegration through the provision of a small reinstallation allowance for all returnees and reintegration plans for most vulnerable groups.

Another initiative is the implementation of a related information campaign, pertaining to the implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns, using various means of communication and capitalizing on the networking with governmental and non-governmental entities as well as on the contacts already established with the target group itself.

IOM also carries out counter trafficking activities, through partnerships with the National Coordinating Mechanism, the Hellenic Police, other Ministries and civil society and provides support to NGOs, as well as the implementation of voluntary returns of victims of trafficking.

Main Projects

  • Voluntary Return of Third Country Nationals and Reception into Their Countries of Origin
  • Assisted Voluntary Returns (Greece) funded by EEA Grants
  • Assisted Voluntary Returns from Greece funded by the UK Border Agency
  • Supporters of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives (SATI)
Facilitating Migration


IOM carries out interventions to address the lack of efficient integration of specific target groups into the Greek society, such as religious minorities (Muslims), Roma, and migrants on legal status in Greece. IOM is implementing projects that assist third country nationals with disabilities to integrate into Greek society by providing them with information..

To this aim, IOM published a bilingual information guide, in Greek and Albanian, which includes useful information for third country nationals with disabilities that have legal status in Greece. The guide can assist third country nationals with disabilities to know and understand what benefits and services they are entitled to receive, what documents are necessary in order to access these benefits and services and where to find the public offices and bodies that can provide them with benefits and services.

Main Projects

  • Drafting, publishing and distributing an information guide for third country nationals with disabilities legally residing in Greece

Last updated:
Main text: September 2012
Facts and figures: September 2014

Migration Initiatives

Educational Toolkit

Not Just Numbers, Educational Toolkit

A toolkit teaching young people about migration and asylum in the European Union

More Info