NEWS

Bill to legalize more migrants

The Inner Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos to amend an existing immigration law in order to facilitate the process for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants seeking legal status in Greece. The proposed amendment is expected to result in the legalization of around 100,000 illegal immigrants who have until April 30 to make their applications. These 100,000 migrants are in addition to the 180,000 migrants who applied for legal status under the 2005 law. «This is another opportunity for immigrants living illegally in our country to gain legal status,» Pavlopoulos told reporters after leaving the Maximos Mansion. The aim of the proposed provisions «is to reduce bureaucracy and to promote the social integration of immigrants by reducing levies and penalties and facilitate the reunion of immigrants with the rest of their families,» the minister added. According to the proposed provisions, immigrants will be granted legal status if they submit an official document certifying that they have been resident in Greece since April 30, 2004; otherwise they must submit official birth certificates for their children, a wedding certificate issued by a Greek registrar, an application to a regional authority for a residence permit or their children’s school graduation certificate. The bill also proposes the establishment of a national committee which will be responsible for the social integration of immigrants and will comprise senior government officials as well as representatives of local authorities, labor and employers’ unions and immigrant groups. The provisions would also lift certain restrictions currently faced by immigrant workers. Curbs on the transfer of workers to different prefectures would be lifted. Restrictions on workers becoming self-employed would also be lifted. «We are making huge efforts to make up for reforms that were not carried out during the past decade,» Pavlopoulos said.