Migrants’ kids still face long wait for citizenship


Three years to the day since lawmakers ratified legislation granting the right of citizenship to the children of migrant parents who were born in Greece or have spent a certain number of years in state schools, hundreds of applicants will have to wait several more years before their papers are processed, as authorities in some parts of the country haven’t even cleared the backlog from a similar law from 2012, which, however, had a much narrower scope.

According to the Interior Ministry, 113,724 citizenship applications were submitted between March 2010 and April 2018, under three separate laws. Of these, only 73 percent have been resolved.

“This means that applications submitted by adults when the latest law was passed in 2015 are basically still in the drawer,” Generation 2.0, an nongovernmental organization dedicated to the rights of second-generation migrants in Greece, said in an announcement on Monday, decrying the delays.

“At this rate, even if new applications start being processed tomorrow, it looks like it will take at least three-and-a-half to four years for them to come to a conclusion, even though by law this is supposed to take a year at most for adults,” the announcement added.

Generation 2.0 also expressed concerns that delays appear to be more pronounced in specific parts of the country, where public resistance to similar initiatives naturalizing migrants has been prevalent.

The organization conceded that staff shortages combined with a proliferation of applications may bog down certain departments in parts of the country, but, it added, “while the rate of cleared applications across the country is 73 percent, in Thessaloniki specifically (where there is also a higher ratio of staff), it is just 43 percent.”