Migrant law may change

The government may take a second look at a recently adopted immigration law after facing criticism from campaigners that the legislation ignores the majority of the country’s illegal migrant population. Parliament passed a law in May enabling thousands of migrants to obtain residence permits on the condition they can prove they were in the country for at least a year up until December 2004. But the government has faced criticism over the law from migrants’ groups and opposition parties that say the measures are too stringent and effectively stop 70 percent of immigrants from obtaining a residence permit. There are more than 1 million migrants estimated to be living in Greece, approximately half of whom are residing in the country without the necessary paperwork. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday that if gaps appear in the implementation of the law, then the necessary changes will be made. «If during the implementation of the law we see that we have made a mistake and need to correct it, then we will do so,» the minister said. The law allows migrants whose residence permits have expired or people who never applied for permits in the first place to submit applications. It has also helped cut some of the red tape encountered by migrants seeking to live in the country, the Interior Ministry says. Pavlopoulos has stressed that the risks associated with easing the measures are too high in an international environment marked by terrorism.

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