Immigration Law and Management in Greece: Towards an Exodus from Underdevelopment and a Comprehensive Immigration Policy

42 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2011

See all articles by Nikolaos Sitaropoulos

Nikolaos Sitaropoulos

Dept for the Execution of Judgments of the ECtHR

Date Written: December 5, 2002


Aim of this study is to provide an analysis of immigration into Greece, underlying the main issues that are to be tackled by the Greek state with a view to drawing up an urgently needed comprehensive and efficient immigration framework. The first section presents the development of alien immigration in modern Greece and the main socio-economic features of the country’s u-turn from the period of sending to the one of receiving economic migrants. In the second section there are analyzed the three major phases of Greek immigration policy and law from 1991-2002: Greece in 1991, by its first draconian Immigration Law number 1975, showed the first signs of awakening from a long state of hibernation. The failure though of this first effort of controlling, in effect preventing, alien immigration led to the second phase of 1998-2001 when the first, also largely unsuccessful, programme of regularization of irregular immigrants was launched. The third major phase of Greek immigration policy started upon the entry into force of the new Immigration Law 2910/2001 which has been a delayed and elliptic attempt to move towards a modern immigration policy framework, introducing at the same time a second programme of irregular immigrants’ regularization.

The second section of the study is complemented by an overview of the Greek attempts to control irregular immigration which has been one of the main preoccupations of Greek authorities and has topped their agendas with EU and Balkan states alike. The main tools against irregular immigration used by Greece so far have been regional inter-state agreements, an idea that has not produced the results wished for, since it has not been coupled by the necessary inter-state co-operation on substantive issues pertaining to the root causes of migration. Finally the third section focuses on some major issues regarding the peripheral, marginalized socio-political position of alien immigrant population and its prospects in modern Greek society. These are serious problems requiring the urgent action both of the state and the civil society. The study concludes by pinpointing the basic crucial themes on which a new comprehensive Greek immigration policy should be based, breaking the constraints of the archaic logic of immigration control that has so far led to a complete dead end, concurrently adopting a holistic thesis of action both regionally and on the European level.

Keywords: Greece, immigration, law, policy, illegal immigration, border control, regularisation, inter-state cooperation

Suggested Citation

Sitaropoulos, Nikolaos, Immigration Law and Management in Greece: Towards an Exodus from Underdevelopment and a Comprehensive Immigration Policy (December 5, 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Nikolaos Sitaropoulos (Contact Author)

Dept for the Execution of Judgments of the ECtHR ( email )


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