Immigration red tape snipped

A series of tweaks to Greece’s immigration laws that were approved yesterday by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos should lead to people applying for residence permits to live in the country needing substantially less paperwork. In a bid to cut down on the red tape involved in the immigration process, the amendments to an existing law mean that anyone applying for residence rights for the first time or looking to renew their permit will not need to submit any health certificates for children born in Greece nor will they have to provide photocopies of every page of their passport or a photocopy of their previous residence permit if that has been adhered in their passport. For any applicant who has full-time employment, a signed statement from his or her employer rather than a copy of their contract will now be necessary. The amendments will also lead to foreign students obtaining a residence permit for the duration of their studies rather than having to renew it each year. They will also be able to obtain residence rights for any children who are born in Greece. The children of migrants in Greece will also no longer have to produce a birth certificate from their country of origin when they reach 18 years of age nor have to apply for their own residence permit. In signing the decision, Pavlopoulos has made further changes to Immigration Law 3386/2005, which was amended in January 2007 and first sought to shake up the way that residence is granted in Greece by giving non-European Union nationals who have been living here for more than five years the chance to apply for long-term permits. The law allows migrants to legally buy social insurance stamps in order to make up the difference needed to renew their residence permits. Despite yesterday’s amendments, a number of documents, including one from the tax office and another from a social security fund confirming that no taxes or social security contributions are outstanding, are still needed to apply for a residence permit.

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