In less than two years since the citizenship law — which allows second-generation migrants to apply for the right to be recognized as Greeks — was passed just over 2,500 people have been granted rights, which seems to challenge the claims of some critics that the legislation would lead to a wave of immigrants trying to take advantage of the new rules.
According to figures seen by Sunday?s Kathimerini, some 4,200 people have applied for Greek citizenship under a provision in the law that allows children born to parents who have lived in the country legally for at least five years to obtain the same rights as locals. Only 1,358 applications have been approved so far.
Another 6,139 have applied under provisions allowing those who have spent six or more years as pupils at Greek schools to apply for citizenship. Of those, only 1,295 have been approved, which means that a total of 2,653 people have been granted Greek citizenship since March 2010, when the law was voted through Parliament.
Both New Democracy and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) have said they would repeal the law if they come to power. The two parties claim that it acts as an incentive for immigrants to come to Greece and the fact that successful applicants gain voting rights could lead to election results being affected.