Over the past few years, a large number of refugees, vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers are reaching the south-eastern borders of the European Union, creating a challenge for the social and health systems of the bordering countries which is inevitably transmitted to the rest of the EU countries. Countries like Greece, Italy and Malta have experienced a massive influx of refugees and vulnerable migrants to the extent that it has challenged the capacity of the health systems already aggravated by the recent financial and social constraints. Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are at a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion compared to the general population, while the different vulnerable groups face diverse barriers when accessing health services.

In many cases they do not receive appropriate health and social care that best meets their needs. Furthermore, Member States of the European Union have very different circumstances when it comes to how health and social care for migrants is organized. Research has shown the importance of community-based health care models to improve access of vulnerable migrants and refugees. These emphasize elements of good communication, cultural awareness, sensitivity and respect for the diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of refugees by the community staff as well health education and primary healthcare.