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Greece passes “Migrants Bill” to tackle labor shortages

A bill allowing migrants to obtain a three-year residency and work permit as a means to tackle labor shortages in various sectors was passed by the Greek Parliament in a roll call vote on Tuesday.

The bill – which is in fact a bit of confusing – passed with a majority of 262 votes out of 300 and affects 30,000 beneficiaries, Migration Minister Dimitris Kairidis told the Parliament.

According to the bill, migrants who already worked 3 years in Greece can obtain the permit if they can provide they worked legally. In addition Greece is negotiating with countries like India, Moldavia, Georgia, Philippines, Vietnam and Armenia for the “import of labor craft”, Labor minister Adonis Georgiadis posted on social media, adding that Pakistan was not among the negotiating countries.

CLARIFICATION-There is no official agreement nor even an understanding between Greece & Pakistan for any Pakistani migrant worker(s) participation in Greek construction industry. @AdonisGeorgiadi & I had explored the possibility of future collaboration. On a personal note, I was…

— Jawad Sohrab (@JawadSohrab) December 20, 2023

Note that migrants can lose their residency permit if they lose their job and are easy prey that will have to accept every low wage and working/living conditions offered by employers.

They will pay taxes and social contributions.

The bill came and was voted in fast track after farmers complained of labor shortages to pick up fruits and especially olives.

However, on social and mainstream media, Greeks claimed that the point is not the shortage of labor in agriculture but the need of cheap labor, some 500,000 people, for the construction of Elliniko Project in the Athens Riviera.

Worth recalling that still in September 2023, the conservative government of New Democracy has been propagating against migrants since it came it power in 2019.

Migrants bill and ex ND PM Samaras

Ruling New Democracy lawmaker and former prime minister, Antonis Samaras, voted against the bill which he has fiercely opposed, New Democracy had imposed party discipline on MPs to vote in favor of the bill, but Samaras was exempted. By choosing to vote against the provision rather than simply abstaining, Samaras showed that he was unfazed by the exhortations of government officials about the necessity of the amendment, daily kathimerini reported..

For its part, the assessment of the government was that the imposition of party discipline had a positive effect. At least eight deputies who had publicly or privately expressed their objections to the amendment voted for it. This, however, does not indicate that the situation has been resolved, as Samaras’ divergence and the public or silent reaction of certain lawmakers was recorded as internal party opposition, for the first time since 2019.

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