Figures show a rise in Greeks trying to find work in Australia

by Ray Clancy on June 19, 2012

in Australia Immigration

22 to 40 year olds seem to be the largest group of Greek migrants

The number of Greeks arriving in Australia to find work and escape from the financial crisis in their country is growing, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

The number has gradually been increasing in the last year and when figures are released for the last three months they are expected to show a steep rise.

Between July 2011 and April 30, 2011, 279 Greeks received Australian permanent migrant visas, double that of the previous year. The majority were family visas as Greeks, like other foreign nationals need to be sponsored to be able to live and work in Australia or obtain a much sought after skilled migration visa.

In the past year, the largest group of Greek migrants has been between the ages of 22 and 40, according to Peter Jasonides, Victorian Coordinator of the Australian Hellenic Council, a group that represents the interests of the Greek community in Australia.

‘They’re trying to come either to do courses in university, or do courses in occupations in demand here, so they can hopefully apply for residency after that. Others are coming here with former qualifications in occupations that are in demand in Australia and they try and learn English and they try and find a sponsor, so they can get a visa,’ explained Jasonides.

And according to George Katsaromitsos, a Sydney based Greek migration agent, in the last two months he has received around 150 inquiries from Greeks who want to come to Australia, compared with less than 24 in previous months.

‘It’s hard to put a number on inquiries because it’s increasing all the time. They call from Greece, they just want to know about life in Australia, what’s happening, if they can get a job if they come,’ he explained.

DIAC figures also show that the number of student visas for Greeks increased 52% in 2011 compared with the previous year.

Most of the Greeks moving to Australia are arriving in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city which has the largest population of Greeks in the country.

Many local businesses are trying to help Greeks fleeing the recession at home by creating work for migrants in the city. Local taxi operators owned by Greek Australians made headlines in March when they announced plans to recruit up to 1,000 taxi drivers from Greece to ease the city’s chronic cab shortage.

The deteriorating economic situation in Greece is also resulting in large numbers of Australian expats to return to Australia. Local media reports suggest that between 800 and 5,000 Australians returned from Greece last year.

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