Law grants immigrants permanency

A new immigration law, enabling thousands of immigrants who have been living in Greece since 2001 to become permanent residents next year, was voted through Parliament yesterday. But Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos rejected opposition calls to extend the privilege to an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, stressing the likely risks of such a move in an international environment marked by terrorism. «Let us not belittle the phenomenon (of illegal immigration). Let us not underestimate the fact that international terrorism finds passages through any gaps we leave open,» Pavlopoulos said. The minister also rebuffed calls by PASOK MPs for ethnic Albanians living in Greece for the past three years to gain Greek citizenship. He said that Greece will not grant citizenship to ethnic Albanians as long as this results in the loss of their Albanian citizenship. This will be the case until Tirana signs a bilateral pact confirming that Albanians can have dual nationality, he said.