09 September, 2005
Greece will for the first time acquire a modern strategy for immigration policy that seeks to allow immigrants to live in the country with dignity, through the law passed by Parliament on August 23, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told reporters on Thursday.
He said the bill looked to the future and sought ways to incorporate immigrants into the job market while fully respecting their rights, as well as trying to correct past problems with immigrants whose residence permits had expired or who had never obtained a residence permit.
Pavlopoulos announced that these last two groups, provided that they were resident in Greece up until December 31, 2004, will be given one more chance to become legally resident, provided they apply before the end of the year.
Those who had never received a residence permit could submit an application and supporting documents from October 1 until December 31, while those whose residence permits had not been renewed could apply from October 31 until December 31.
Applicants must supply photocopies of all pages of their passport bearing a visa stamp, proof that they had applied for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds or that this application has been rejected, proof that they have paid social insurance contributions; photocopies of any decision rejecting their application for asylum and proof that they had asked for a tax registry number.
Pavlopoulos said that the form that applicants would be asked to fill out would be the same for everyone and that it contained information necessary to Eurostat, while he stressed that there would be great emphasis on full information for everyone, with instructions and leaflets in several languages.
The minister also noted that residence permits would no longer be easy to forge, since they will be printed on paper with a watermark, while there will be different colored permits for those who have supplied fully information and those who have submitted incomplete information.
He said he expected the problem to be fully resolved by June 2006.
Source: Athens News Agency