No extension for green cards

As long queues of immigrants formed yesterday outside local authority offices accepting applications for new Greek residence permits, the government said it would not extend current permits beyond the June 30 deadline. Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papademas blamed the crush at many applications offices on immigrants who waited until a few days before expiry of the deadline to table their papers. «A very large number of immigrants submitted their applications over this past week and, in result, there is great congestion at prefectural and local authorities, particularly in Attica,» he said. But Papademas promised that immigrants with expired residence permits who can prove they tabled their application before June 30 will not be deported. By the end of May, Papademas said, prefectural and local authorities all over Greece had received a total of 217,168 applications for residence permit renewals. However, only 84,983 permits have been issued so far. Papademas said the final number should not exceed 450,000.

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