Immigration law to be tweaked

Amendments will be made to Greece’s immigration law, which the government introduced just over a year ago, in an effort to simplify the process for migrants looking to obtain residence permits, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said yesterday. «When the law was passed, I said that along the way we would make partial changes which help to avoid bureaucracy or increase the number of illegal immigrants whose stay in Greece we legalize,» said Pavlopoulos after an Inner Cabinet meeting. Among the changes the government plans to introduce are that children under the age of 18 will no longer need to pay a fee, known as paravolo, when they submit their residence papers. The method of counting Social Security Foundation (IKA) credits will also change so officials will take into account credits that have been earned over a two-year period to asses whether a migrant fulfills social security criteria. The government will also relax the requirements on the paperwork migrants need to submit to prove they have lived in Greece since at least December 2004. Proof of a child’s enrollment at a state school, proof that a child was born in Greece while at least one parent was living in the country legally, and an official refusal from a regional authority to renew a residence permit are some of the documents that will be acceptable under the amendments. One of the other changes that will be introduced is that people who did not have a valid passport when they applied for a residence permit will be allowed to apply again as long as the Foreign Ministry gives authorities clearance.