Figures released by the Greek Foreign Ministry are on the rise as young Greeks continue their search for a brighter future
New data supplied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Greek parliament has revealed that between 2010-2015, more than 332,000 Greeks left Greece in search of opportunity.
Australia alone has welcomed 45,000 of the Greek hopefuls, and is continuing to attract the largest number of Greeks outside of Europe.
While the figures may already seem quite high, the ministry believes the reality could in fact be significantly higher, given that “there is no mandatory registration process of Greeks living abroad to local embassies and consular authorities”, it revealed in a statement.
According to the data, arrivals Down Under have been increasing since 2010, with approximately 9,000 Greeks arriving per year.
However, the majority are not being recorded as new arrivals, given that many are in possession of dual citizenship, while others are on student visas, which grant them permission to work part-time.
Despite the increasing numbers, however, the Athenian-Macedonian Press Agency’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis is hopeful they will return to Greece one day when the country’s economy improves.
“We are working to strengthen and organise the Hellenic diaspora and to create conditions for the return of young people in the productive fabric of our country, for their return home,” he said.
“We utilise the Greeks abroad as development partners. A stronger relationship between the national centre and the Greek diaspora is desirable and urgent.”
Aside from Australia, the most popular destinations for Greeks moving abroad are Germany, the UK, Cyprus, Norway, the Netherlands, and the US, followed by Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
Germany has been the most popular destination to date, with a total of 157,055 Greeks moving there in the past five years. The UK has welcomed 51,859 and Cyprus 31,474.
Other countries increasing in appeal are Holland, with 24,000 newly-arrived Greeks, and France, which is particularly popular with youth.
While there are no official figures available, it has been estimated that within the territory of the consular office of Paris alone there are 15,000 Greek workers, and between 1,500 and 2,000 students.
Of those moving abroad, 6,165 Greek citizens have settled in Austria, 5,000 in Belgium, 2,572 in Luxembourg, 5,000 in Switzerland, 2,630 in Denmark and 1,111 in Portugal.
Meanwhile, outside of Europe, from 2010-2014 the US granted 6,340 Greeks residence permits with permanent resident status.
In neighbouring Canada, just 1,616 successfully received residence permits with permanent resident status, and though the number is low in contrast to other countries, the Foreign Ministry noted that as a destination it has been a growing trend in recent years.
Middle Eastern countries have also been on Greeks’ radar, particularly those in the construction, commerce, shipping and tourism industries, many of whom have university degrees.
According to the data, 500 Greeks are living and working in Kuwait, while in Qatar, the number of arrivals in 2008 to 2014 increased from 450 to 1,000.