Two years after the leftist-led government passed much-hyped legislation allowing children who have been born to migrant parents in Greece to obtain Greek citizenship, it is estimated that only half of the 58,000 applications have been approved by the authorities.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that thousands of second-generation migrants who are formally eligible for Greek citizenship have failed to submit a claim to the authorities.
Red tape, which can in some cases delay the whole procedure for years, is mostly to blame for the low rate of citizenship claims.
Christos Yacoubi, who was born in Greece in 1997, read his name in the Government Gazette (FEK) Wednesday after authorities finally green-lighted his claim. He submitted his application 20 months ago. However, he still has to join the municipal as well as the male register – which is a requirement if you want an identity card.
“The waiting time is a minimum of five months,” an official from the nongovernmental organization Generation 2.0 told Kathimerini.
“All that is happening when you are at an age when you have to make very important decisions about your life, like what studies you will pursue or where you will look for work,” said 27-year-old Sebene Eschete, who was born in Greece to Ethiopian parents.
“You cannot just say, ‘OK, I’ll just sit around waiting for a couple of years,’” she said.
Greece’s citizenship law was passed in June 2015 after the Council of State deemed earlier legislation, also known as the Ragousis law, as unconstitutional.