Centre pour l'entrepreneuriat, les PME, les régions et les villes

Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Athens

Published on July 26, 2018

Migrants, including native-born children with migrant parents, account for 23% of Athens’ population (664 046 people), while the number of refugees and asylum seekers has rapidly increased since 2015 and is currently estimated at 18 000. To respond to the refugee inflow, Athens developed bold and innovative initiatives, often beyond their direct responsibilities, and sought supra-national and non-state sources of funding (i.e. Stavros Niarchos Foundation, British American Tobacco, etc.). This emphasis on reception and integration of newcomers is the result of strong political will and cooperation with non-state actors, in line with the city's broader priorities since 2010 including anti-discrimination and improving equal access to social services. Integrating newcomers through jobs is particularly challenging given the high unemployment rate that Greece has experienced. In addition, newcomers often have the desire to continue their journey towards northern European countries, reducing their incentives to integrate and learn Greek. While identifying various innovative practices, the OECD case study of Athens highlights the need for more reliable sources of financing and dialogue among levels of government. Data on migrant integration at the local level would support more evidence-based national, regional and local policy making.


Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary
Key data on migrant presence and integration in Athens
Background and governance of migrant integration
Responses to migrant integration in Athens
Decentralisation in Greece
Migration legislation reforms
List of participants in interviews with the OECD delegation in Athens
Nationalities hosted in Elaionas Open Hospitality Structure as of January 2017
Nationalities in relocation scheme
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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees was launched at OECD Headquarters on April 18th, 2018. This Case Study of Athens highlights the need for more reliable sources of financing and dialogue among levels of government.




The integration of migrants is one of the most formidable tasks policy makers in OECD countries face. The sheer scale of migration necessitates a concerted effort to make integration a success. If integrated successfully, migrants can contribute to host countries in multiple ways, not least of all, economically. At the same time, integrating migrants and refugees can be challenging, especially because they constitute highly diverse groups, consisting of different genders, ages, cultural backgrounds with different motivations, skill sets, educational levels and experience. 

This data visualisation tool allows you to compare regions on a number of issues relating to migrant integration, including reception numbers, length of stay, education level, skills and employment statistics.‌

migrant datavis banner


Find out more about OECD work on territorial approaches to migrant integration

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