Monday, January 3, 2011

Is there a way out for Greece?

Greece does not have many alternatives in order to effectively deal with its immigration issue. Either the country continues the failed policies of half-measures, ex-post facto regularizations, good intentions and wishful thinking or the government becomes realistic and tackles the real dangers that have emerged as a result of the issue’s mismanagement in the last 20 years. A realistic approach must result in a complete overhaul of current policies and a U-turn on current immigration management. In brief, Greece should:
  • Estimate the labor market needs for migrant labor on a regular basis
  • Estimate its infrastructure’s carrying capacity as far as population is concerned
  • Guard its land and sea borders much more effectively
  • Improve the repatriation rate of illegal immigrants. This can be achieved through a mix of diplomatic efforts, bilateral agreements, concerted EU efforts and repatriation programs. Special focus must be given on the agreement with Turkey which is one of the main transit countries of illegal immigrants to Greece and, thus, Europe
  • Rationalize (i.e. decrease) the number of legalized immigrants by not renewing residence and work permits of non-EU citizens and by introducing voluntary
    repatriation programs
  • Ensure the compliance of employers to labor legislation especially as far as illegal labor is concerned. Enforce harsh penalties to those who employ illegal immigrants
  • Refrain from new regularization efforts
  • Set national security and community cohesion as its main immigration policy making criteria

Unfortunately, the main obstacles to the aforementioned policy framework are the chronic dysfunctions of the Greek state mechanisms and a lack of political will. These two factors are the main reasons behind the continuous and rapid deterioration of the immigration situation in Greece. A European focus on Greece’s compliance with the essence of the EU Pact on Immigration and Asylum will ensure that Greece designs and implements a viable immigration policy that protects Greece’s (and EU’s) national and state security and increases community cohesion. »

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