Crisis has major impact on the economics of immigration

Besides locals, the crisis that has been gripping Greece for the last six years has also had a major impact on the economic activities of immigrants.

Unable to find work, large numbers of non-Greeks have been buying one-way tickets home. The trend is confirmed by official statistics: The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) has recorded a sharp decline in the immigrant population, the Bank of Greece significant outflows of deposits, and the Social Security Foundation (IKA) a big drop in the number of the immigrants insured.

In just one year, the number of non-EU subjects living in Greece dropped by nearly 165,000, from 817,800 in 2011 to 650,800 in 2012. The largest segment concerns people of Albanian origin. The trend is certain to have continued in 2013 but as yet there are no available data.

The deposits of non-eurozone immigrants in Greek banks fell by 30 billion euros between June 2010 and June 2014. According to Bank of Greece data, the outflow amounted to about 3.5 billion euros in the June 2013 to June 2014 period.

The latest IKA data show that the number of insured immigants fell 33 percent in the first four years of recession, from 237,470 in December 2009 to 159,670 four years later. At the end of 2013, Greeks represented 90.15 percent of those insured with IKA from 87.17 percent four years earlier.

The sharp decline in the number of jobs held by immigrants is largely attributed to the collapse of construction activity. Of the 116,890 insured in this sector in 2009, 52,620, or 45 percent, were of foreign origin. In 2013, employment in the sector had fallen by two-thirds and the number of foreigners in it had dropped to 16,090. Employers in construction, numbering some 43,800 at end-2009, fell to just 16,050 four years later.

In 2013 IKA registered a rise in the total number of insured, from 1,434,850 in 2012 to 1,621,260. This is largely attributed to firms’ fears of being fined if caught employing uninsured workers.