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Mr Giannis Vroutsis
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
29, Stadiou, PC 10110
Email: [email protected]
I would like to welcome the recent decision by your government to grant asylum-seekers with a ‘temporary number for insurance and healthcare for third-country nationals’ (PAAYPA), providing access to free public health care and the labor market while they wait for a decision on their claim.
However, this new decision does not solve the situation of thousands of children of irregular migrants and of certain categories of asylum-seekers, for instance those who have not managed to register their asylum applications. These people’s lives and health remain at risk as they are excluded from accessing free healthcare and medicine in the public health system. There is still a lack of clarity about some practical aspects of the system, including the timeframe of its implementation.
While the Greek Law 4368/2016 grants free access to healthcare to members of “vulnerable social groups”, including refugees, asylum-seekers and minors irrespective of their legal status, they can only exercise this right if they have a Social Security Number (AMKA) or a special Foreigner’s Health Care Card (K.Y.P.A). Following the decision to withdraw the circular that regulated the AMKA for non-Greek nationals in July 2019, and the lack of a process to grant K.Y.P.A cards, there was no procedure in place to grant free access to healthcare to people who fall within these categories.
I urge you to take immediate action to ensure that all asylum-seekers, from the moment they express their wish to apply for asylum, as well as unaccompanied children and children born in Greece from parents with an irregular migration status, can access free healthcare in the public system, as mandated by Greek Law 4368/2016.