June 22, 2005

The Greek government announced a new draft law on immigration in a bid to bring the outdated national law in line with the European Union’s standard.

With this bill, the government hopes to establish an immigration policy that will protect both foreign nationals rights as well as the country’s interests.

In the Draft Law the government proposes changing the current two part process and simplifying it into one process. This would mean that the application for a work permit would be combined with a residence permit . This combined “residence” card will be issued by the secretary general of each district.

Additionally, legalization of a foreign nationals immigration status in the country will fall under the districts’ jurisdiction. This is also a change as historically the legalization of status is the responsibility of the prefectures.

By Jan. 1, 2006, special agencies will be created in the districts. An foreign national wishing to apply for a permit will request it from the district. The district will then process the request through its committee, which will decide whether or not to issue the permit.

The foreign national will also be required to undergo a criminal background check which will be conducted by his or her relevant consulate or embassy.

See: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/20/content_2852152.htm