Change of tack on green cards

Some 130,000 immigrants who had been issued with residence permits to remain in Greece have failed to renew their paperwork but the government said yesterday that it will do all it can to ensure that they are not expelled from the country. Speaking ahead of the United Nations-sponsored two-day Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which begins in Athens next Wednesday, Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzagri said that the government is looking at ways of ensuring that immigrants who have permits do not lose their legal right to remain in Greece as a result of the economic crisis. Tzagri said the main factor in 130,000 of the 680,000 foreigners who had been issued with residence permits no longer having valid paperwork was that they did not have enough social security stamps to qualify for a permit renewal. A minimum of 200 stamps are needed per year. One of the measures being considered to overcome this problem is to reduce the number of stamps that are required in the permit application process.