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HELIOS Project

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Project or programme


IOM Greece

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Ongoing Project


Project End



Implemented in temporary accommodation centres throughout the country, IOM Greece's Hellenic Integration Support for Beneficiaries of International Protection (HELIOS) project supports and promotes the integration of beneficiaries of international protection by providing:

  • integration courses;
  • accommodation support;
  • employability support;
  • integration monitoring;
  • sensetisation of local communities, highlighting the value of integration

Photo credit: HELIOS Project

Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption

The project enhances the integration system in Greece by:  

  • increasing the beneficiaries’ self-reliance and agency within the Greek society;
  • establishing an integration mechanism within the current Greek temporary accommodation system based on rotation

Photo credit: HELIOS Project

How does it work

Focused on five areas of integration, the project works as follows: 

  • Integration courses: HELIOS provides courses at Integration Learning Centres (ILCs) set up across Greece. Each six-month course includes modules on Greek language (280 hours), and soft skills such as cultural orientation, job readiness and life skills (80 hours); the courses are open to beneficiaries who are at least 16 years old;
  • Accommodation support: HELIOS helps beneficiaries of international protection to find accommodation in apartments rented in their own name, including by providing contributions to rental and move-in costs, and through networking with apartment owners (see details and amounts in the attached handbook);
  • Employability supportIndividual employability and job-readiness support is provided; this is achieved through job counselling, providing access to job-related certifications and networking with private employers;
  • Integration monitoring: HELIOS regularly assesses of the integration progress of the beneficiaries in order to ensure they will be able to confidently navigate Greece's public service providers once the project ends;
  • Sensitisation of the host community: The project leads workshops, activities and events - as well as an upcoming national media campaign - in order to increase the interactions between the migrants and the host communities, highlighting the value of the integration.

Photo credit: HELIOS Project

The project is implemented in temporary accommodation, and in integration centres across Greece; at the time of writing of this text, HELIOS carries its activities at 18 such centres.

Adult beneficiaries of international protection have to sign a Declaration of Participation.  

See all details about the project's rules in the Project Regulation Handbook (also attached).


The project has proved successful.

In the year between 16 July 2019 and 17 July 2020, a total of 12 519 beneficiaries were enrolled in the HELIOS project. IOM Greece estimates, based on recognised international protection status within certain established time limits, that the total pool of potentially-eligible persons for the same time period would be just over 30 000; this means that close to a half of the target group of beneficiaries across Greece was reached.

Out of the 12 519 beneficiaries, 3 193 received also rental subsidies upon finding independent housing. In addition, 2 471 accommodation workshops, 1 910 integration monitoring sessions, 1 172 integration course enrolments and 1 194 job counselling sessions were held during the year.

The participants' women-to-men ratio is 45 to 55 percent. 

Image credit: HELIOS Project


Evaluation of the individuals' integration progress is embedded as one of the projects ongoing activities, as noted above. Meetings are regularly scheduled with the beneficiaries. During them, the project's participants can raise the integration issues they face, as well as provide feedback on the HELIOS project activities. 

An annual evaluation was also carried out for the period 16 July 2019 - 17 July 2020, quoted in the 'Results' section above.


Who will benefit?

The project's target group includes beneficiaries of international protection recognised after 01 January 2018. More details find in the attached PDF.

The project also employs more than 300 staff members.

Source of funding and Resources used

The European Commission's Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs funds the project. 

In addition, the initiative is implemented with the help of the following partners: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Danish Refugee Council Greece (DRC Greece), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), Solidarity Now, INTERSOS, Municipality Development Agency Thessaloniki S.A (MDAT), Metadrasi, PLOIGOS, KEDHL, Technology and Human Resources Institute (IATAP)