02/12/2020

Urgent Action Update: Migrant Children and Asylum-Seekers Still Denied Healthcare (Greece: UA 2.20)


The Greek government issued a new decision on 31 January granting a ‘temporary number for insurance and healthcare’ to asylum seekers, providing access to free public health care and the labor market while they wait for a decision on their claim. While implementation remains to be seen, this welcome decision fails to address the situation of children of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers that have not managed to complete a formal application.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 2.20. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Mr Giannis Vroutsis
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
29, Stadiou, PC 10110
Athens, Greece
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Haris Lalacos
Embassy of Greece
2217 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 939 1300 I Fax: 202 939 1324
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @GreeceInUSA
Facebook: @GreeceInWashington
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2T1hTP9
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Minister,

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.

Yours sincerely,

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