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Georgian emigrants in Greece to be allowed to reside legally

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, May 19
The Embassy of Georgia has started working on the issue of granting legal resident status to illegal Georgian emigrants in Greece.

The information was released by the Ambassador of Georgia to Greece, Ioseb Nanobashvili.

The Ambassador explained that the Greek Migration Policy Ministry has allocated a responsible person to work on these issues with the Embassy of Georgia.

Moreover, he added that the Embassy of Georgia in Greece cooperates with Georgian lawyers licensed in Greece regarding the issue.

“Georgia and Greece are willing to step up the process of the legalization of our citizens resident in Greece. However, this does not mean that all Georgians who are in Greece illegally will receive legal status at once,” Nanobashvili added.

The Ambassador stated that the media plays one of the key roles in this issue, in order to avoid false expectations regarding the dates and scale of the initiative.

Nanobashvili also noted that Georgia’s visa-free regime with the European Union gave Georgian migrants opportunities to see their relatives and family members.

“Visa liberalization has given great opportunities to our emigrants who cannot leave Greece due to their status to see their family members, who at a reasonable price and without visas or bureaucratic barriers can visit Georgian emigrants in Greece,” he said.

He also said the expectations that a lot of Georgians would depart to Greece after the launch of visa-liberalization scheme did not come true.

"There was also expectation that the number of border crossings would increase dramatically. In fact, only a slight increase was observed,” the Ambassador said.

Last month, Greek Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas met with Ambassador Nanobashvili to discuss the issue and agree on the development of a united, coordinated approach of the two countries towards the issue.

The parties agreed that Greece will help Georgia to properly interpret the 2014 Greek migration law and its amendments.

After the existing legislation is thoroughly studied, the parties will also introduce a new law to increase legal living opportunities for specific groups of Georgians in Greece.

Georgians are one of the largest immigrant groups residing in Greece. In fact, Greece is the second most-chosen destination (after Russia) for Georgian immigrants.