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[ALBSA-Info] Legalization of migrants begins: Kathimerini

Gazhebo at aol.com Gazhebo at aol.com
Tue Jun 5 13:55:09 EDT 2001


Legalization of migrants begins

Major operation of registering immigrants and granting temporary residence permits starts today
Ten centers like the one pictured will deal with around 200,000 migrants expected to register in the city of Athens.

By Pikia Galati
Kathimerini

The process of granting temporary residence permits to migrants begins today. An estimated 400,000 migrants are expected to take part, and the majority of them are expected to receive a six-month residence permit.

The law stipulates the process must be complete by 2 August, but there has been talk of allowing an extension for the municipality of Athens. During the registration period, no illegal migrants will be expelled for failing to have residence permits. 

Documentation

>From today, all illegal migrants may apply to the municipality in which they live. In order to complete the application form, they must produce:

- Two color photographs;

- A passport or birth certificate or family status certificate or identity card from their own country, verified and translated into Greek.

- Official documents proving their residence in Greece from at least June 2, 2000 until today (such as mobile or fixed-line telephone bills, electricity or water bills, or documents from the Greek school attended by the applicant's child, an unlimited-trip bus pass, or a green card which has expired or will expire by June 2).

- "Paravolo" (receipt for deposit) of 50,000 drachmas paid to the taxation office (for adults only).

Applicants who have none of the above documents, may buy 250 social insurance stamps from any fund, paying for them without a fine being levied. Applicants who live in a municipality with fewer than 20,000 residents may get a certificate from the municipality that they have been living in since June 2, 2000.

Recognition of 250 working days requires that a migrant be insured with OGA by paying 100,000 drachmas, with IKA for 469,750 drachmas or TEBE for 487,000 drachmas.

When applicants have lodged the application and supporting documents with the clerk at the municipality, the clerk will issue them with a certificate from the municipal clerk. Once the authorities have checked their documents, applicants can get their six-month residence permit from the the municipality on production of the certificate.

Municipalities have done their best to prepare for the registration process. In Athens, where the majority of migrants are expected to register, there are 10 reception centers, where applicants may register by appointment (arranged by telephoning 195 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily). During the first phase, 150 council and Interior Ministry staff will register migrants. Interpreters in nine languages will be available. 

Piraeus authorities say the reception center at 38 Ermoupoleos Street, Kaminia is in operation. Seven municipal employees, aided by regional authority and Interior Ministry staff will register applicants. There will be access to the telephone number 1446 for legal advice to settle any procedural snarls.

In Macedonia, municipalities are at varying stages of readiness. Responses from local authorities ranged from: "We'll start and see how we go," as Mayor Michalis Selvidis of Echedoro said, to: "It will be chaotic but we hope there won't be any panic during the first days," according to an employee at the Menemeni Municipality. 

In Thessaloniki, the local council administration says it is ready but does not know quite what to expect. To avoid crowds, the council will accept applications in alphabetical order, starting with those whose surnames begin with the first letters of the Latin alphabet. There is a reception center with about 10 staff at the Music Center in the port (18 Kountouriotou Street).

The municipality of Patras is the best prepared in Achaia, said Mayor Evangelos Floratos, with 12 employees working double shifts to register migrants. The council expects to receive 400 million drachmas. By contrast, the Dimis Municipality in Kato Achaia is the least prepared. As Mayor Dionysis Gotsoulias says: "We'll use two employees, because we don't have any others, and other work will be held up. Besides, many of the 600 or more foreigners in the area have expressed caution about registering, for fear the process may lead to their expulsion."

"No staff are available, but we'll do our best and we are thinking of taking on extra personnel, in which case the problem will be how to train them," says Mayor Stylianos Korovesis of Aghios Stefanos, Attica. "There are many problems. Apart from finding staff and space, we will probably face the problem of interpretation, contact and understanding." While Elefsina's Deputy Mayor Antonis Manolakas said: "We hope two employees will be enough, even though a large number of people in the area need to be dealt with. Otherwise we'll try and send others. But where can we send them from, when permanent administrative staff have not been approved for the municipality in recent years?"

Mayoral protests

Other mayors protest that they have not had enough time or information to prepare for the process. "We weren't given enough time or the necessary information. It's not reasonable," said Perama Mayor Yiannis Patsilinakos. "A responsibility which we shouldered willingly has found us unprepared to deal with it properly," said Deputy Mayor Panayiotis Psyllas, adding: "This is additional work for councils with few staff. And more so when the end-date essentially is not August 5, because the work will continue to come in periodically, if not quite so much of it (for example, issuing green cards)." 

As Mayor G. Liakos of Aspropyrgos points out: "For municipalities, this process is unprecedented. Problems are sure to arise, but we'll see during the course of events." Nea Erythraia Mayor Vassiliki Tambaki-Magoula comments: "We can't meet the needs of the municipality, much less staff secondments."

An estimated 20,000 migrants live in Peristeri, many of whom are illegal. "The infrastructure of the municipality cannot guarantee the staff, many of whom will be on summer leave," says General Secretary Dimitris Tsekouras. "The employees have not been trained, but I don't think it's so difficult. But the process is ongoing and laborious. Let's hope they don't protest."

Of course, some municipalities say there are no particular problems. "The procedure is simple and there is no problem. With 20 people we managed to pay 6,500 grants in five days," says Ano Liosia Mayor Nikos Papadimas. Drapetsona Mayor Constantinos Chronopoulos takes a similar line: "It is a simple matter for us. Some employees will have to work overtime, but not very much."


Thanassis Tsinganas, Ilias Kanistras, N, Bardounias and G. Lialios have contributed to this article.

Where to apply

AGHIOS STEFANOS: Oion sports club, 2 Iroon Polytechniou.

ANO LIOSIA: Drosoupolis covered gym, at end of M. Alexandrou.

ASPROPYRGOS: 8 Athanasiou Diakou (behind town hall).

AVLONA: Cultural Center, old Athens-Halkida highway.

DRAPETSONA: City Hall, Agoniston Polytechneiou & Karaiskaki

ELEFSINA: Ethnikis Antistaseos & Tsoka.

KALLITHEA: City Hall, 76 Matzagriotaki.

KAMATERO: City Hall, 54 Phylis.

KOROPI: City Hall, 47 V. Constantinou & Karaiskaki.

LAVRION: 1 Kountourioti.

MEGARA: City Hall, C. Moraiti & G. Mavroukaki.

PERSITERI: Municipal offices, opposite City Hall, Plateia Dimokratias.

PERAMA: Old City Hall, 28 Leoforos Dimokratias.

SALAMINA: City Hall, C. Karamanlis & Ammochostou.

TAVROS: City Hall, Pireos & Eptalofou.




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