Ailing economy sparks new wave of Greek migration to Australia

Source: SBS

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Greeks with Australian citizenship are returning here in the hope of finding jobs and a better life, away from the instability crippling Greece’s economy.

Australia is also seeing an increase in the number of new migrants from Greece, many coming to our shores with the support of family and friends.

Department of Immigration figures show that there was an increase in the number of Australian temporary and permanent visas granted for Greek nationals in the last fiscal year.

The increase was seen in nearly all Australian visa categories, with a significant rise in temporary 457 visas, up by nearly 70 percent.

There is also an approximately 61.5 percent increase in the number of permanent immigrants under family and skilled migration routes during the period between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from 325 to 525 issued visas.

Yianni Veskoulis and his friend George Vynos are among the many new Greek migrants who now call Australia home.

“I miss some things from my country, but I find other things here, that I don’t have in my country,” says Yianni. “My future is here.”

“You can find job, you can survive, like financial way, you know,” says George.

Yianni found work as a carpenter and George works as a mechanic.

Peter Jasoniadis knows the story well.

He runs a college which offers courses in English, business, childcare and community services.

Over the past three years he’s seen a large increase in the number of pupils.

But it’s tough and the new migrants are grateful for the support of family and friends.

“They know that Melbourne for example, is the third largest Greek city in the world. What they don’t know, is the laws of migration in Australia are different to what they were 20, 30 or 40 years ago.”

And with so many losing their jobs in Greece, those who lived here but went back – are now returning.

“I was without a job for 2 years in Greece, and at one stage,” says Nick Maniatis. “My sister lost her job as well. And that’s when I decided that I’m going to come back to Australia.”

While the economic crisis in Greece might have been the major factor in the decision to return here, many Greeks with dual citizenship say they had a personal reason to the country they were raised and educated in.

Arthur Gialamas left Australia when he was 12.

32 years on, he’s back, with his wife and teenage children.

“I always had a special place for Australia in my mind, and that I would want to come back again,” he says.

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