Five key Greek ministries on Monday decided that the country will re-introduce the practice of granting a social security number to all migrants who have applied for asylum in Greece, something that the current conservative government had stopped doing a few weeks after it assumed power.
The latest decision will be granting refugees and migrants who have applied for asylum a provisional social security number, similar to what is known in Greece as ”AMKA.”
However, the new provisional number will not be the actual AMKA, which is a permanent number, valid for life.
This provisional number will provide the holders with free medical coverage and a right to work while they wait for a decision on their application.
The Provisional Insurance and Health Care Number (PAAYPA), as it will be called, which is issued by the Asylum Service upon a migrant or refugee’s completion of the application, ensures the asylum seekers’ access to health care and the labor market for six months after their application.
Rejection of the asylum application results in the automatic deactivation of PAAYPA, whereas if international protection is granted, the temporary number will turn into an AMKA number, the permanent social security number that all Greek and other EU citizens are entitled to receive in the country.
According to the Migration ministry, the new temporary social insurance number “does not carry AMKA’s structural weaknesses (permanence, inability to deactivate), while it makes it possible to administratively identify health care costs and seeks to allocate the relevant EU funds in a documented way.”
Obviously the EU has pledged to assist Greece with the healthcare costs of the asylum seekers who are living in the country.
The decision was reached by Grece’s Ministries of Migration & Asylum, Education & Religion, Health, State and Labor & Social Affairs.
The earlier decision to cease granting social security numbers (AMKA) to newly arriving asylum seekers was prompted by the relevant services being completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applicants.