EU urges members to deport more migrants ineligible to stay - GR Parliament approves new migration code
“Last year, we had a return rate of only 21% of those who are not eligible to stay,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told reporters at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. “When we fail to return people, this hampers our system and erodes trust.”
Johansson said that 340,000 decisions were handed down in EU member nations last year to deport people, but that only in 60% of cases did European authorities try to contact the migrants’ home countries to get them accepted back in.
“To protect the right to apply for asylum we have to show that we are appropriately dealing with those who do not qualify for international protection,” she said. “We need migration, but it has to be in a legal and orderly way.”
The arrival of well over one million migrants in 2015 – mostly people fleeing war in Syria or Iraq – sparked one of the EU’s biggest political crises. Member countries bickered over who should take responsibility for the migrants who enter, and whether other members should be obliged to help.
The row continues today. Repeated attempts to reform the asylum system have been made, but there’s been little progress. Unable to resolve the core dispute, the EU has turned to paying the countries that people leave or transit to prevent them setting out in the first place.
Johansson said the EU’s border and coastguard agency “is well equipped” to organize deportation flights, and urged the bloc’s 27 member countries to take advantage of them.
“We have a good political agreement with Bangladesh,” the EU’s top migration official noted. She said a Frontex flight would depart for Bangladesh on Wednesday with 68 “returnees” aboard. “This is the way we should work together,” Johansson said. [AP]
Therefore, in related news,Greece’s Parliament approved on Wednesday a Migration Ministry legislation that overhauls that migration code, clarifying regulations about residence permits for non-EU migrants and unaccompanied children, and incorporating a related EU Directive (2021/1883/EK).
“The ministry’s legislative work was concluded today, legislating effective procedures on dealing with challenges of migration, taking into account the needs of the Greek economy and society, and deterring illegal migration while legislating effective legal passage where we as a country want, expressing the current trend in the European Union,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said after the vote.
The new law contains a clarification of current categories in residence permits, and changes the process of inviting citizens of third countries to Greece to cover domestic market needs, whether permanent or seasonal. It also lifts a ban on changing location of residence for certain categories, in order to allow the better use of workers already living in Greece legally in different locations.
Regulations also establish the online registration for work and residence permits, and updating of documentation.
Concerning unaccompanied children who become adults, the new Code includes a ten-year residence permit (like the current M2) based on two conditions: First, that they have completed at least three years of schooling in Greece before they turn 23. Second, that they have been accepted in professional or university-level schools or institutions.
The previous M2 residence permit for third country citizens required birth in Greece or completion of six years in a school in Greece before age 23; being a member of a Greek family and living legally in Greece with a Greek parent for five consecutive years; having completed a legal ten-year residence in Greece before applying, and fulfilling certain obligations of the Code of Greek Citizenship.