In 2021, 23 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in Greece (excluding EU citizens), 15.6% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 9.6% labour migrants, 51.4% family members (including accompanying family), 3% who came for education reasons and 36.1% other migrants. Around 340 short-term permits were issued to third-country students. In addition, 6 100 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -46% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 29%, to reach around 29 000. The majority of applicants came from Syria (4 300), Afghanistan (4 100) and the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2 900). The largest increase since 2021 concerned applicants from the West Bank and Gaza Strip (+2 100) and the largest decrease nationals of Bangladesh (-1 200). Of the 39 000 decisions taken in 2022, 50% were positive.

Emigration of Greek citizens to OECD countries increased by 8% in 2021, to 28 000. Approximately 40% of this group migrated to Germany, 18% to the Netherlands and 6% to Switzerland.

In February 2022, Greece and Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Migration and Mobility, which has been ratified by both countries since then. It provides for the recruitment of 4 000 Bangladeshi workers per year, initially in the agricultural sector in Greece and includes a regularisation component which could benefit about 15 000 Bangladeshis residing in Greece on the date of signature. The MoU also aims at promoting efficient return and reducing irregular flows and migrants’ smuggling and will be complemented by arrangements facilitating procedure for visa issuance. A bilateral agreement was also signed with Egypt in November 2022 and was ratified by parliament in January 2023. It regulates seasonal employment of Egyptian workers mainly in the agricultural sector.

In February 2022, the list of safe countries of origin was updated to include Egypt, Nepal and Benin, while in December 2022 Ukraine was removed from the list. As a result, 16 countries are designated as safe countries of origin: Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Albania, Georgia, India, Armenia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal and Benin.

In June 2022, the Law 4 939/2022 (Gov. Gazette: A’ 111) “Ratification of the Code on reception, international protection of third-country nationals and stateless persons, and temporary protection in cases of mass influx of displaced persons” (Asylum Code) was adopted, mainly codifying amendments introduced after 2019 in one single piece of legislation.

In July 2022, the new Law 4 960/2022 (G.G. A’ 145) on Guardianship and accommodation framework for UAMs, was adopted to regulate issues related to guardianship and establish a framework for the operation of hospitality centres and supervised apartments for semi-autonomous accommodation. It includes the necessary provisions for implementing the new guardianship scheme, providing flexibility to actors who fulfil specific criteria to provide guardianship services. There are also specific provisions for those who can offer the guardianship services, for the procedures to appoint a guardian, for the personnel and the institutional actors involved and for monitoring and supporting the implementation of the guardianship system.

In accordance with Law 5 007 (GG A’241), adopted in December 2022, the minimum investment for real estate investors applying for the «Golden Visa», was raised from EUR 250 000 to EUR 500 000 in parts of the country, including Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini and Mykonos (effective as of 1st May 2023). Also, in these areas, investors will only be allowed to invest in one property.

In March 2023, the parliament approved the new Migration Code (Law 5 038/2022, G.G. A’81) to become effective on 1 January 2024. The Law codifies existing regulation on migration in a single text and modifies certain regulations on migrants’ residence permits, aiming to correct malfunctions identified over the years. The new migration code also includes measures for those who wish to enter the country for work purposes, as well as for second generation children born and raised in Greece. A new measure with immediate effect eases regulations for unaccompanied minors who will only need to complete three years of secondary schooling by the age of 23 to receive a ten-year residence permit, against six in the previous legislative framework.

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