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31 August 2007

Family Reunification in Greece

This small scale study explores aspects of family reunification in Greece during the period 2002-2006, focusing on legislative developments and administrative procedures in Greek and EU contexts, as well as on the evolution of the size and composition of family reunification. The study examines the transposition of EU Directive 2003/86/EC in Greek legal order which was conducted with PD 131/2006.

The institutionalisation of family reunification launched in 2001 and since then gradual amendments have solved the obstacles present in the implementation of relevant legislation. After the comparison of the relevant domestic legislation and the Directive, it seems that all mandatory clauses of the latter have been fully and smoothly transposed and implemented. This is so because, despite the recent transposition, most of the key provisions of the Directive had already been institutionalised earlier.

During 2002-2006, the number of applications for family reunification shows an upward trend. From 28.9 ths in 2002 these climbed to 138.1 ths in 2006. The majority of applications refer to residence permit renewals, while about 60 ths represent initial applications, which implies an equal number of newly arrived dependants from third countries. About 20 ths third country nationals per year are currently expected to apply for initial family reunification. The number of residence permits issued for family reunification is a rather small portion of the total number of issued residence permits (about 15%). Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that the number of those exercising their right for family reunification will increase in the coming years.

The large majority of residence permits for family reunification belongs to Albanians, while those from Asia and Africa show a small however increasing share. The high majority of resident permits for family reunification so far refers to females, mainly wives. Recent changes show increasing numbers and share of children, indicating that the central pattern of immigration in Greece is that the immigrant worker(s) arrive first, to be followed by wives and then by children.


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Costas N. Kanellopoulos and Maria Gregou
Geographic area
Contributor type
Academics and experts
Original source
Posted by
Anna Triandafyllidou

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