The Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, was in Pakistan, where during his visit to Islamabad, he met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The agenda of the meeting was to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of legal immigration, as well as ways to combat illegal immigration.
According to Greek sources, the ministry's political leadership, through its visit to Islamabad, wants to achieve a dual goal.
On the one hand, the strengthening of the Greek economy, through the legal route of immigration, and on the other hand, returning Pakistanis illegally in Greece to their country.
"In terms of legal migration, we propose seasonal employment up to 9 months/year instead of long-term settlement," Mitarachi wrote on his Twitter account regarding the issue.
In terms of legal migration,we propose seasonal employment up to 9 months/year instead of long-term settlement.
— Νότης Μηταράκης - Notis Mitarachi (@nmitarakis) February 8, 2022
Mitarachi claims that he agreed on the need to promote legal routes of immigration "at the expense of smuggling networks that endanger human lives."
During Mitarachi's visit to Islamabad, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed.
The purpose of this declaration is to establish technical talks between the two ministries, with the medium-term goal of concluding a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries.
The Greek minister even invited Imran Khan to visit our country to continue talks.
What Mitarachi said
According to Greek sources, he expressed satisfaction with the way the Greek side approached such a sensitive issue, even congratulating the mutual will to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
In the aftermath of his contacts, the minister made statements saying that: "The goal of the government is to support legal immigration to meet the needs of the Greek economy, while combating illegal arrivals and the return of those who do not have the right to stay."
"We propose to legal immigration seasonal work for up to nine months a year compared to long-term settlement," he added.
On the other hand, according to a press release from Imran Khan's office, Mitarachi during his visit stated that Greece wants in 2022 to create a new immigration policy regarding "skilled labourers".
The aim will be for immigrants from Pakistan to enter the country legally with a five-year residence visa.
More specifically, for each of these five years, the visa holder will be entitled to reside in Greece for nine months of the year, while for another three months they will have to return home.
According to a statement from Islamabad, the aim of this policy is described as threefold: first, to issue visas legally; second, to legalise illegal immigrants; and third, to combat illegal immigration.
The Pakistani announcement
These details are not mentioned anywhere in the Greek announcement of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, not even in its English version.
However, there is no official denial of what was announced from Imran Khan's office.
The question therefore arises, which of the announcements describes more accurately what has been discussed?
Islamabad goes on to say that the Greek minister assured that legal immigration would increase Pakistan's income and promote the introduction of a direct air route between the two countries.
Their announcement also added, according to the same press release, that at the moment more than 60,000 Pakistanis live in Greece legally and illegally.
Imran Khan's advisor informed Mitarachi that his country is preparing a special database, based on which it will provide the various countries with specialised human resources, according to the needs of their market.
Both sides have acknowledged that illegal immigration promotes terrorist financing and money laundering, something Islamabad is "struggling to fight."
Concluding, the announcement from Imran Khan's office, they also refer to the cooperation they wish to have with Greece in the tourism sector.
Specifically, they say that Pakistan is ready to host Greek tourists who wish to visit the country for holidays.
In this press release, as in the Greek one, reference is made to the signing of a memorandum.