Positive and negative aspects of the new Immigration Law
In March of the current year (2014) the "Immigration and Social Integration Code" was voted for the first time in Parliament [Law 4521/2014 (OGG 1.4.2014)], the effective date of which is 1.6.2014. Objective of this new law is, on the one hand, the regulation in one single text of the multiple, since 1991, laws, presidential decrees and other regulatory acts which applied to this day, within the framework of our country's immigration policy, and on the other hand, the modernization of said policy and the simplification and speeding up of the applicable process of residence and work permits by the competent authorities.
Within the scope of the Law 4251/2014 fall all of the aliens residing in our country legally, while from them the article is excluding the citizens of the EU, the employees working for the diplomatic and consular authorities as well as the beneficiaries of international protection within the meaning of Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951.
Out of the novelties introduced in this new Code the most important are: a) the "long-term resident permit", which unlike the "unfixed term resident permits" granted to this day enables the holder to seek employment outside Greece, in other European countries (articles 89et seq.), b) the establishment of expeditious process of aliens' entry and residence in order to promote investment and essential to development products, intended to strengthen the national economy and development (article 16), and c) more favourable regulations for the second-generation immigrants (article 108), who, provided they have a residence permit , they can renew it every five years by solely producing the previous permit.
Nonetheless, at the opposite end of the aforementioned positive elements of the New Immigration Code, specifications such as: a) the exclusion from the scope of Law 4251/2014 of the immigrants who legally resided in Greece in the past, but due to the intervening period of financial crisis and its consequences (e.g. unemployment, lack of insurance coverage etc.) they lost their residence right and were not able to renew their permits, as well as b) the incomplete references in matters regarding the administration and the competent authorities responsible for the implementation of the provisions which as of next month shall constitute the foundation of Greece's new immigration policy, generate scepticism regarding the potential of the new law to mitigate the problems that immigrants living in our country face every day and its ability to manage and fulfil its objective.