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Posted on: March 1st, 2013 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Greece: Citizenship to become more difficult for children of migrants

Children refugees West Bank - source UNRWA

photo: UNWRA

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Greece-born children of immigrants face additional requirements in order to naturalize, according to the latest draft law amending citizenship law that is currently being hammered out by  the interior ministry.

According to the new draft law to be tabled in parliament, children of migrants in Greece will have to wait longer and file a lot more paperwork in order to apply for Greek citizenship, a report published by Eleytherotypia says.

On the other hand, foreigners who intend to invest in the country will face fewer obstacles in obtaining the Greek citizenship as they will be eligible for a ‘fast-track procedure’, according to the report.

The Council of State deemed unconstitutional the law, which was passed in 2010 and which is known as the Ragousis law after former Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis a few weeks ago. The law allows those born to immigrant parents and legally resident in Greece for five years to get citizenship if they have studied at a Greek school for at least six years.

The changes include: increase in the number of schooling for children of migrants from 6 to 9 years and the increase in the number of years of residence of their parents from 5 to 7 or 8 years. Also, naturalised Greeks will be forced to give up their first nationality.

“ I was born in Greece. I am 26 and still don’t have a Greek citizenship,” Egyptian Nerveen Awad says.

“Especially when someone is actually born in a certain country, is speaking its language as though it were one’s mother tongue, has been taught its history ever since one was a child and has set up one’s life there it always seemed logical to me that one could also choose to become an official citizen of that country, but this is not the case in Greece,” she says.

Meanwhile, nineteen migrant rights groups gathered in central Athens on Tuesday evening at a press conference hosted by the journalists’ union ESHEA to protest against the court’s recent new ruling concerning the Ragousis law, Kathimerini writes.

In a joint statement, the 19 migrant groups accused the government of “adopting a right-wing agenda” with its decision to challenge the law.

Immigrants make up 10 percent of the country’s population.

For years, up until 2010, a person’s citizenship was determined solely by his or her parents’ citizenship. Only those with blood ties to Greece could become Greek citizens.



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