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Three ways to obtain Greek citizenship

10 April 2015 / 17:04:08  GRReporter
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An immigration draft law has been put forward for public consultation. According to Ethnos, the bill contains provisions that affect children of immigrants who were born in Greece, attend school or have graduated in the country.

The right to acquire Greek citizenship is granted to children who have a diploma from a Greek secondary or vocational school, or a university, as well as children who have studied 9 years at a Greek school or have completed the 6 years of the secondary level of education.

Ethnos reminds that the past requirement envisaged only six years of education at a Greek school, regardless of the level of education.

The current provision affects mainly children who were not born in Greece, but instead settled in the country; it is associated with a legal stay requirement.

The third way to get Greek citizenship covers children of foreigners born in the country. The first paragraph of the bill provides that a child of foreigners, who was born in Greece, has the right to obtain Greek citizenship under the following conditions:

  • enrolment in the first grade of primary school and continuing education in the year of applying for citizenship;
  • past legal stay of a parent of at least five years prior to the child’s birth. If the child was born before the five years have elapsed, she/she is entitled to Greek citizenship after ten years of continuous legal residence of a parent in the country;
  • legal stay of parents, with at least one of them having acquired a residence (indefinite or long-term) permit at the time of application.

The previous law provided for a 5-year legal residence of both parents and the acquisition of citizenship at birth - something that was deemed too lax by the State Council.

It is also made clear that parents will not be able to legalize their stay based on their child’s future school enrolment and eventual citizenship because at the time of applying (i.e. when the child starts school), both parents must be legally residing, with at least one of them having a final residence permit (indefinite or long term), which corresponds to a 10-year stay in the country.

The bill also has provisions aimed at improving the situation of immigrants. The conditions of residence are favourably amended; cases of immigrants, who lost their residence right due to the crisis, but have stayed in Greece for years, are settled. Two provisions are introduced under EU recommendation affecting seasonal workers and trainees.

Meanwhile, with the tourist season approaching, businesses have voiced their concern over the incessant flow of refugees into the eastern Aegean, mainly to the island of Kos. "Both society and business are very worried because of the island’s image in the eyes of visitors," said the president of the Hoteliers Association of Kos, Konstantina Svinou. Local factors point to a dire situation. Yesterday, yet another 38 people arrived at the island, despite bad weather.

Families with young children are forced to live either in the makeshift camp by the port, or spend the night in the yard of the police station, in city squares or elsewhere. Most of them are Syrians, among them pregnant women, elderly people and infants. "We see people with wounds from the war who have walked miles to jump into the icy waters and try to save their lives. As a result, they get hypothermia," says Dimitris Yanousis, a member of the island’s Doctors Without Borders.

Port authorities have protested against the sheltering of refugees in the vicinity of the port, as the first cruise ship of the season is expected in the coming days.

Police and port authorities describe the situation in fairly dark colours: "Refugees come to the police station on their own, and we don't even manage to have them detained and continue with the legal process," says Antonis Kidonakis, union leader of police officers in the Northern Dodecanese.

For its part, Kos' mayor Georgios Kiritsis sent a protest letter to the Prime Minister yesterday voicing his reluctance to install a permanent accommodation centre for refugees on Kos. "We need something provisional until the completion of the process allowing them to move on," said the mayor. According to reports, a working group of the competent ministries is already trying to find a better solution not only for Kos, but for every island experiencing similar issues.

Tags: Greek citizenship immigrants refugees conditions season Kos
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