Some Immigrants Give Up On Greece

ATHENS – While the news about immigrants and Greece is the continuing waves seeking asylum or using the country to get to elsewhere, many already here are going home or somewhere else.

Unable to find a job or a better life during a crushing economic crisis now going on more than four years, immigrants from a number of countries have decided to try their luck elsewhere.

Most are from neighboring Albania, which, until recent years, had been the biggest source of immigrants until Greece started being overrun by illegal immigrants sneaking in through the border with Turkey or by sea from the Mideast and Africa.

Figures compiled by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the Bank of Greece (BOG) and data from Greece’s largest social security fund IKA, showed the turn of events.

Unlike many of those from other countries, most Albania immigrants have been living in Greece legally and established news homes and lives, although they still face discrimination, especially their children in the schools even if they excel.

According to ELSTAT, 133,787 Albanian nationals left Greece in one year alone, from 2011-12, during the height of frequent protests, strikes and riots against austerity measures imposed by the government on orders of international lenders.

Moreover, the number of deposits from non-European Union citizens, mainly depositors from Albania, has decreased during the past four years by 30 billion euros, with deposits down by 3.5 billion in the period from June 2013-June 2014.

Data revealed by IKA showed the number of Albanian nationals insured by the fund in 2009 reached 121,902, while at the end of 2013 the number decreased to 85,893 persons.

The greatest drop was observed in the construction sector, where just one third of those insured in 2009 are still left, since this was the sector most severely hit by the financial crisis.