The Greek government is planning to allow hundreds of thousands of currently undocumented migrants to work in agriculture, construction and tourism.
Greece, like many other European countries, is urgently looking to fill gaps in the labor market, especially after many people left the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greek Minister of Migration, Dimitris Kairidis, has announced that the government is considering the possibility of allowing unregistered immigrants to work in some sectors, to address shortages.
The plan, which is similar to a reform in Italy in 2020, is expected to affect around 300,000 immigrants who are undocumented or whose residence permits have expired.
"We have to see what we can do with the population that is already in our country, without creating other magnets for others to come illegally," Kairidis said in an interview with Greek television.
The Greek minister is expected to outline the initiative at a cabinet meeting next month, a migration ministry official told Reuters news agency.
Agriculture Minister Lefteris Avgenakis says the country needs about 180,000 land workers every year. In the past, some of these jobs have been filled using worker schemes with Albania, Bangladesh, India and Egypt, but delays caused by bureaucracy have led to shortages, according to the minister.