The number of people leaving Greece to start a new life in Australia is continuing to rise

Greek migration to Australia increases

Impact of crisis reflected in latest figures

The number of people leaving Greece to start a new life in Australia is continuing to rise, according to the latest data released by the Department of Immigration.

Figures announced this week show the number of temporary and permanent visas awarded to Greek nationals increased in the last financial year, showing growth in nearly every visa category, with a particular spike in temporary 457 visas – up by nearly 70 per cent.

Such visas, which accounted for 156 Greeks entering the country in 2011-12, increased to 264 in 2012-13. In 2010-11 only 57 visas were granted in this category.

Registered Migration Agent Penny Dimopoulos told Neos Kosmos said that the spike in 457 visas could be partly attributed to those who came to Australia originally on student visas in recent years.

“Many Greeks who arrived on student visas have been able to improve their English, acquire a qualification or gain Australian work experience – that has now enabled them to apply for a work or skilled visa – which they may not have been eligible for previously.”

Numbers for permanent migration under family and skilled migration streams rose between 2011-12 and 2012-13 by 61 per cent – from 325 to 525.

These figures, says Ms Dimopoulos, are likely to relate to spouses and children of Australian citizens who were born in Australia but returned to Greece.

“When the crisis initially hit, many of these people decided to stay and wait for the situation to improve, however, given the fact that unemployment remains high and opportunities in Greece are currently so limited, some of these people have now decided to make a new start in Australia.”

Over the last three years the number of people from Greece entering Australia via the family and skilled migration streams has been growing steadily, with only 134 Greeks permanently migrating in 2010-11.

Student visas – the single highest visa category other than temporary offshore tourist visitors – continues to rise – up by 45 per cent on 2011-12.

In that 12 months 587 Greek citizens were offered visas to study in Australia. In 2012-13 the figure increased by 332 to 855.

Temporary tourist visas – allowing short stays (usually a maximum of three months) continue to be the most common method for Greek nationals to enter Australia, though the figure fell in the last financial year.

In 2011-12, 7938 Greeks came to Australia as temporary offshore visitors on tourist visas. That figure decreased in 2012-13 to 7222.

For Cyprus, which has a much smaller level of migration, 27 Cyprus nationals permanently migrated in 2012-13, an increase of 11 on the year previously.

1414 Cypriots visited Australia in 2012-13 as temporary offshore visitors compared to 1395 in the 12 months before, while 128 Cyprus nationals came to

Australia on Working Holiday visas, an increase of nearly 100 on 2011-12.

Immigration’s latest figures do not include Greek Australian dual-nationals who have returned to Australia.

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