New Rules For Migrant Citizenship

ATHENS – Second-generation immigrants living legally in Greece will be given the right to apply for citizenship if they were born in the country and meet education requirements.

The new draft bill prepared by the Interior Ministry was designed to replace a previous measure that anti-immigrant critics wanted repealed because it allowed the immigrants a chance at citizenship and to stand in local elections.

The new bill sets out three alternative prerequisites for the acquisition of citizenship. The applicant must either have completed the compulsory minimum education in the Greek system (primary school and junior high), have completed six academic years in secondary education (junior and senior high) or have finished high school and graduated from a Greek university or technical college.

Migrants as young as 16 will be able to apply and will be eligible for citizenship from the age of 18.

It is unclear exactly how many people will be eligible for citizenship under the new regulations. Ministry sources told Kathimerini that that at least 50,000 fulfill the criteria. The Greek Forum of Migrants has estimated that there are some 200,000 second-generation immigrants in Greece.