The reduction of social insurance contributions to a minimum 120 work stamps from 150 currently needed for the issuance of residence and work permit in Greece is being promoted by the labour ministry. In addition, at least 50 work stamps instead of 80 will be necessary for a worker to be entitled to free healthcare through the social insurance system.

The move is made to help workers -- locals and immigrants alike -- to cope with crisis conditions, Alternate Labour Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis on Monday stated following a meeting he and Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara had with the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) leadership focusing on the migration issue.

Koutroumanis stated that the aforementioned provisions will be included in the Labour Inspection Agency (SEPE) draft law to be tabled in parliament soon incorporating an EU directive and the imposition of fines on employers with uninsured employees.

“The draft law in preparation will spearhead our policy against unregistered labour and contribution evasion,” Deputy Labour Minister Anna Dalara stressed, adding that it was based on relevant discussions already held with migrant social organizations and the Ombudsman office.

“Our efforts are focused on long-time employed migrants who are facing the risk of becoming marginalised,” she stressed.

Responding to a question on the hunger-striking illegal migrants at the Hypatia street building in downtown Athens, she stated that those qualifying will have their requests met. She also left open the likelihood of a six-month extension to the deportation procedure, adding, however, that such a decision can only be made by the citizen protection ministry.