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The Greeks and the Others Immigration and Migration.

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Presentation on theme: "The Greeks and the Others Immigration and Migration."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Greeks and the Others Immigration and Migration

2 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora People have been moving in and out of Greece since the beginning of recorded time. Greek diaspora is one of the most striking aspects of the Greek history. A great wave of colonization went out between 750 and 500 BC. Greek culture spread all around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The main reasons for colonies were population pressure at home and the desire for outposts close to the sources of valuable products.


4 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora In 1767, some 500 Greeks landed on Florida’s Atlantic coast. In post-Independence Greece and until 1940s, people generally left Greece as emigrants and came into it as refugees. The War of Independence left southern Greece devastated and under populated. The suppression of insurrections in 1821-2 in Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia sent the first wave of refugees to the southern Greek insurgents.

5 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Immigration to U.S. Although a few Greeks immigrated to the United States during the 1800's, it was not until the last decade of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th that they began to arrive in large numbers. Ultimately, between 1900 and 1920 about 350,000 Greeks came to America as part of the flood of East European immigrants. The majority of these early immigrants were single young men who came from the southern peninsula of Greece known as the Peloponnesus.

6 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Greek Immigration to the U.S. has been overwhelmingly male. During 1890-1900, one of the decades of the most intense immigration, only four women arrived for every 100 men. Those who emigrated at this time often did so to earn money to repay family debts, provide dowries for their sisters, and return to Greece with sufficient funds to live comfortably.

7 Greek Americans In 2005 an estimated 3,000,000 Americans residents in the United States claim Greek descent. 1528 Don Theodoro arrives in US as a member of the Narváez expedition. 1592 Juan de Fuca sailed up the Pacific Coast in search of the fabled Northern Passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. He reported discovering a body of water that was later identified as the strait that today bears his name

8 Greek Americans The first significant Greek community to develop was in New Orleans during the 1850s. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first Greek Orthodox church in the United States.




12 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora Emigration was encouraged by post-war Greek governments as a way of solving the problems of poverty and underemployment, with the most favored destination being West Germany, 'although large numbers also went to Australia, Canada and elsewhere'. Migration of Greeks to Australia was now on a much larger scale. Between 1947 and the early 1980s almost 250 000 Greeks entered Australia in the category of 'permanent and long-term arrivals'.

13 Migrants, Refugees and the Diaspora At the time of the 1991 Census there were in Australia 136 028 persons who were born in Greece, and a further 151 082 persons born in Australia, with at least one Greece-born parent. Since the late 1950s the Greek population has been and continues to be, the second largest (after the Italians) non- English-speaking-background group in Australia.

14 Greece after 1974 After 1974, Greece has evolved rapidly and can be classified as a country belonging to the zone of the advanced and the privileged. According to the UNDP Human Development Report, 1998, Greece ranks 20th (among 174 nations) on the quality of life index. Concurrently, the accession to the European Union in 1981 has served to improve and consolidate - qualitatively and quantitatively - Greek society, economy and policy.

15 Greece after 1974 A striking reversal of the pattern of Greece as a refugee solely for the Greeks Greece has become attractive to a long list of people who would never before have considered Greece even as a place of transit.

16 Reasons for Immigrating to Greece The collapse of the USSR and its fragmentation was followed by the subsequent collapse of all the communist Balkans. Civil wars of 1992-1995 in Yugoslavia, bombarding of Kosovo in 1998 Push factors

17 Reasons for Immigrating to Greece Income differences. Albanian wages are approximately $3 per day, while in Greece, the wages of an Albanian illegal worker fluctuate between $6 and $10 dollars in rural areas and between $15 and $20 in the Athens metropolitan area. Greek economy much stronger and vigorous Pull factors

18 Waves of Immigration Greece, in comparison to other EU member states, has experienced the highest influx of immigrants in recent times First wave of the early 1990s mostly Albanians. Second wave after 1995. Immigrants from other Balkan states, the former Soviet Union, Pakistan, and India. Of the main countries of origin, Albania accounts for 57.5 percent of the total, with second-place Bulgaria far outdistanced with 4.6 percent.

19 Albanian Immigration to Greece Albania’s communist regime fell in 1991 90% of the Albanian factories closed and unemployment sky-rocketed. 1990-91 the first great exodus of the Albanian refugees mostly for political reasons. The total number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, in Greece is thought to be between 400,000 and two million, an estimated 10% to 20% of the Greek work force.

20 Albanian Immigration to Greece For the period 1990-1999 Greece was the main destination. Why Greece and not Italy? The Greek border with Albania are rather difficult to police on account of the mountainous territory.


22 First Reaction Greece had not experience such an enormous influx of immigration before. In the period 1991-98 there was no concrete migration policy as the country was still considered to be a net "exporter" of population

23 Social Results of Immigration Immigration has increased criminality to a very substantial extent in the categories of serious crimes. Very slow integration of immigrants to the Greek society





28 Xenophobia Xenophobia=the fear of strangers The majority (66 percent) of those who tried to rent or buy a house in the five years preceding the survey, experienced a refusal they attributed to their foreign background. For migrants from the former Soviet Union and Romania, this percentage very high (81 percent and 78 percent respectively). Credit was refused to half of those who tried to obtain it. Romanians were the group refused credit most frequently (71 percent).

29 Xenophobia On 1 November, the publication of the EU’s spring 2000 Eurobarometer survey showed that 38 percent of Greeks are disturbed by the presence of foreigners (“citizens with other nationalities”) in Greece. The EU average was 15 percent

30 Immigration Policy Developments The first regularization program to handle recent illegal migration was introduced as late as 1997 with Presidential Decrees 358/1997 and 359/1997 “entry-exit, residence, employment, expulsion of foreigners and procedure for the recognition of the status of refugee for foreigners.”

31 Immigration Policy Developments The twin decrees gave unregistered immigrants the opportunity to acquire a "white card" temporary residence permit. This, in turn, gave them time to submit the complementary documents necessary to acquire a "green card" work and residence permit. To qualify for the "white card" they had to have lived in Greece for at least one year, and submit documents testifying to their good health, a clean court and police record, and proof of having paid national social insurance contributions for a total of 40 working days in 1998. A total of 150 days of social insurance contributions were required for the acquisition of the green card. No registration fees were charged at this stage.

32 Immigration Policy Developments In 2001, the government passed Act 2910/2001 on "the admission and residence of foreigners in Greece and the acquisition of Greek nationality through naturalization." This gave immigrants a second opportunity to legalize their status, provided they could show proof of residence for at least a year before the implementation of the law. Greece: A History of Migration By Charalambos Kasimis and Chryssa Kassimi

33 Social Factors When the first waves of immigrants came to Greece in the early 1990s, they found themselves between the good will and the cautiousness of the population. Some were trying to help them make a new start living in Greece, providing financial aid and accommodation. Others were quite reserved towards immigrants. As the numbers of immigrants kept rising, especially in urban areas, the cautiousness grew and living conditions worsened. Immigrants would find accommodation in poor areas, along with their peers and compatriots. Sometimes, they would even move in with them in very small apartments until they could find an affordable place of their own

34 Attitudes toward the Xeno: Greece in Comparative Perspective Neovi M. Karakatsanis Jonathan Swarts Mediterranean Quarterly 18.1 (2007) 113-134

35 "For God's sake, are we going to turn Greece into Albania?" On 28 October 2000 and again on 28 October 2003 (Ochi Day, a national holiday), Odysseas Cenai, a young Albanian (yet one, it might be noted, baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church) was selected by his school near Thessaloniki to carry the flag at the front of the local parade, an honor reserved for the top student at each public school in Greece for this national celebration. As word of Odysseas's selection spread, opposition mounted against the prospect of an Albanian youth carrying the Greek flag on a day of patriotic celebration—one celebrating Greek resistance to foreign invasion no less!

36 "For God's sake, are we going to turn Greece into Albania?" In 2000, Petros Efthymiou, the education minister, decreed that foreign students could carry the flag and declared that "the twenties in grades that young Odysseas achieved at his school are worth much more than the medals won by the Olympic medallists at the Sydney Olympic Games." For his part, the president of the republic, Costis Stephanopoulos, publicly echoed the ancient aphorism by saying that "a Greek is whoever participates in Greek education." In the end, however, the surge of opposition proved too great. In both 2000 and 2003, Odysseas decided to forgo the honor


38 Social Factors Plans to build a mosque in central Athens to accommodate the city's growing numbers of Muslims were met with opposition. "The people [of Greece] are not ready to see a minaret in downtown Athens." Archbishop Christodoulos He suggested that the government should instead build a new church in a "very visible" location near Athens' airport so as to emphasize the "Greek Orthodox stamp of the nation" to attendees of the 2004 Olympic Games

39 Social Factors Facing increasing pressures to issue a building permit for an Athens mosque, but sensitive to widespread public and church opposition, the Greek government shifted the proposed site of the mosque to Paiania, an outlying suburb fourteen miles north of Athens and a two-hour bus ride from the southern working- class districts where most of the city's Muslims live. Despite its problematic location, the place of worship was to be ready, the government pledged, in time for the 2004 Olympic Games. Despite this commitment, however, the mosque was never built. The mayor of Paiania—who proclaimed (perhaps with unintended irony) that "there are no Muslims in Paiania"— sought and received a court injunction to stop construction work, and local residents erected a cross at the highest point of the proposed building site.






45 As illustrated in table 7, eighteen-to-thirty- year-olds are also less likely than those older than sixty to agree with the proposition, "If a country wants to reduce tension it should stop immigration." In short, age plays a very strong role in explaining attitudes to foreigners: the younger one is in Greece, the less antimigrant and xenophobic he or she tends to be.table 7

46 These patterns are confirmed by a March 2001 poll conducted in Athens and Thessaloniki by Kappa Research for UNICEF that surveyed the attitudes of primary school children and compared them to those of adults. It found that, compared to their parents, Greek schoolchildren are much more tolerant of their migrant classmates.

47 In fact, a resounding 88 percent of primary school children in Greece reported very positive opinions of their foreign friends, with 60 percent of them believing that foreign students should be allowed to attend Greek schools. In sharp contrast, more than half of their parents reported discomfort over the presence of foreigners in Greece and opposition to having immigrant children attend Greek schools. In fact, more than 60 percent of parents responded that migrants should leave the country altogether!

48 The attitudes of the majority of Greeks— particularly those toward the “xeno”, the foreigner, the stranger, the immigrant— remain rooted in a past idealized as socially conservative and ethnically homogenous. The experiences of Odysseas Cenai and the struggles of Athens' Muslims are but noteworthy examples of how Greek attitudes and values have lagged behind a fast- changing social structure.

49 Yet as we have also sought to show, Greek attitudes toward migrants vary. While the path to a multicultural society is never an easy one— particularly for a country long proud of its alleged homogeneity—attitudes and values are nevertheless undergoing a gradual, but profound, change. As revealed in the survey data discussed in this paper, younger, better-educated Greeks have significantly different attitudes toward migrants than their older, less-educated compatriots.

50 While their attitudes are, when compared to those of other Europeans, still significantly less welcoming and tolerant of the xeno, we show that as certain Greeks become accustomed to the migrants in their midst and as they come to form personal friendships and even family relations with them, their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes change in a positive direction. Thus, while the status of migrants in Greece at the moment leaves much to be desired, many Greeks, particularly the young and better educated, seem prepared to adjust to their country's newfound social reality.

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