NEWS

Third chance at legalization for incomers without permits

Migrants who have lived and worked for long periods in Greece but have not yet acquired legal residence will soon get a third opportunity to regularize their status. Sources say that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis gave the Interior Ministry the green light on Monday to implement a new legalization effort. In April, when it is expected that the task of issuing all outstanding residence permits for which applications have been made will be complete, the new endeavor to legalize migrants who are not yet in the process will begin, under strict conditions. Well before that, the government will present a new bill to Parliament that will simplify the procedures of issuing and renewing migrant’s work and residence permits. As Deputy Interior Minister Thanassis Nakos told the premier, the ministry has drafted a bill that will once more combine the work and residence permits in one document. Regional administrations will be in charge of dealing with permits and migrants will submit their applications to municipalities. The same law will include provisions for the smooth integration of legally resident migrants into Greek society, and it will incorporate European Union directives on family reunion and the status of illegal migrants who have lived in Greece for a long time. The legislation will also cover changes to the organizational structure of regional administrations, providing them with more staff and upgrading their operational systems, and connecting them with the other services involved (Economy, Public Order and Interior ministries).