Government aiming to legalize working migrants

The government is drafting legislative reforms that will grant legal status to thousands of migrants who have been working in Greece for years and also see the reissue of revoked residence permits to immigrants who have not gathered the required social security stamps to renew their right to stay in the country.

According to sources, authorities plan to record the details of migrants working in different sectors. Home help, farm laborers and construction workers are some of the categories to be drawn up.

The Research Center of Gender Equality (KETHI), which operates under the auspices of the Interior Ministry, has suggested that migrants working in home help, for example, be given special status as they offer a particularly important service by looking after children and the elderly.

Migrants who are not granted residence papers will either return to their countries under a European Union-backed voluntary repatriation scheme, deported or granted political asylum.

Authorities are also planning to reissue residence permits to between 60,000 and 80,000 migrants believed to have lost their status due to their failure to gather enough social security stamps. Some 80,000 more migrants are believed to be at risk of losing their permits for the same reason.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that the owner of the neoclassical building in central Athens where more than 200 illegal immigrants have been on hunger strike since their transfer there from the Athens University Law School two weeks ago, has appealed to a prosecutor to intervene as the migrants refuse to leave.

Constantinos Routzounis had offered his property as temporary accommodation for the migrants to break the impasse at the Law School and as a personal favor to the Athens University Rector Theodoros Pelegrinis. Many of the 237 migrants, who yesterday entered the 19th day of a hunger strike, are said to have developed urine infections and respiratory problems.

The country’s two main workers’ unions, the Confederation of Greek Labor and the civil servants’ union ADEDY, on Friday called on the government to help the migrants.

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