Greece: legalisation for migrant workers

The Greek Parliament passed a legislative amendment on Tuesday granting migrants who have entered the country illegally a three-year residence and work permit if they have a job and have lived in Greece for three years without committing any crimes. The move comes in response to labour shortages, particularly in the agricultural sector. Approximately 30,000 migrants are eligible.

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Proto Thema (GR) /

Turned into wage slaves

On closer inspection, this apparent relaxation of rules is not very humane, criticises Proto Thema:

“It was not considered necessary to point out that after the change in the law migrants will be working subject to blackmail by their employer, so to speak: if they protest, they will be dismissed, leading to automatic deportation. And, of course, they are not allowed to visit their families during the three-year residence permit period. So, we consider it reasonable to let them work to support their families without giving them the opportunity to be close to their families. You could argue that we want not workers, we want wage slaves.”

Capital (GR) /

A dangerous rash decision

Capital disagrees with this type of migration policy:

“The key to controlling migration lies in border controls, a strict selection of applicants and the supervision of those in the country and working. This means that those entering illegally should be deported rather than rewarded. Dealing with the migration problem requires a long-term strategy based on the political consensus of most parties in parliament and society. Amendments in late-night sessions do not contribute to a realistic approach. On the contrary, they intensify a climate of suspicion about a hidden agenda and create fertile ground for conspiracy theories.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Workers in demand

Kathimerini is doubtful about whether the strategy will work:

“Most migrants see our country as a transit country rather than a destination. The amendment is an attempt to persuade some of them to stay here. ... The question is whether the applicants will comply. Why would they choose to 'register' now, after years of illegal residence, risking deportation if they lose their employer? The issue with the amendment is not ideological; it's a purely practical matter. ... Will it get to the stage where European countries are competing with each other to see who can offer immigrants more? Don't laugh. We're not that far off away from that now.”