Since 2014 Greece has been an important country of first arrival and transit for refugees from the Middle East. In 2015 alone, almost one million people crossed from the Turkish coast to the Greek Aegean islands to seek international protection in Europe.?The combined effect of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal and the closure of the borders in Eastern European countries has caused a significant decrease in arrivals. Still, at least 50,000 people arrived in Greece in 2018, either by sea or by land. Of those, more than 70% were from three countries: Afghanistan (27.7%), Syria (24.4%), and Iraq (18%).?

By December 2018, an estimated 71,200 refugees and migrants were still in Greece; of those, 14,608 were living on the islands, and 56,547 on the mainland.? Reception centres on some of the islands remain overcrowded, with many refugees living in unsuitable tents or makeshift shelters. At the end of December 2018, the migrant population in Samos was five times over the centre’s capacity.?As of 27 January, some 2,233 people had newly arrived in Greece in 2019.?

For 2019, INFORM rated Greece's risk of humanitarian crisis as low, at 2.9/10.?