Sunday February 1, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
16o C
13o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Emigrating to Germany: Not as easy as it sounds

Greek doctors and nurses get information about work in Germany from representatives of German hospitals in May 2012 under the EUropean Employment Services (EURES) program in Thessaloniki.

By Lina Giannarou

The elderly woman was in a state of great agitation. She had spent the last of her savings on one-way tickets for herself and her daughter from Greece to Germany, landing in Dusseldorf, where she asked around for the address of the local Greek community center.

“You’re Christians, aren’t you? Take us into your homes!” she shouted in desperation at the members. “Haven’t you got a guest house? Help us!”

Ioanna Zacharaki, an adviser on social integration and multiculturalism at Diakonia Rhineland-Westphalia-Lippe, said that such scenes are far from uncommon when I asked her how she responded to the hysterical woman.

“What could we do? We paid for their hotel and bought them tickets back to Greece,” she said.

“We see a lot. People back home need to understand – and you, the media have to explain it to them – that Germany is not the Promised Land. There are many difficulties that aren’t apparent when you’re looking at the situation from a distance. People shouldn’t just up and leave without any preparation or some rudimentary tools,” Zacharaki added.

The migration expert says that members of Germany’s Greek communities are often called upon to help Greek migrants who have been found sleeping on park benches in Dusseldorf and other cities or who have requested help at Greek churches and parishes.

“They don’t know the situation here. They don’t find out first. They get their families together, spend all of their money and come over, however they can, desperate. Unfortunately, things get ugly for many of them,” explained Zacharaki, who has also been a municipal counsilor in the city of Solingen for 15 years.

Many of the Greeks that Zacharaki has come into contact with have also suggested that there are illegal migration rings taking advantage of the crisis, and made up of Greeks as well.

“People see ads in Greece promising them a home and work in Germany for a fee. They end up paying a lot of money and are then left high and dry,” she told Kathimerini.

The most recent example was a couple, both theology professors, who lost 300 euros to such a gang.

“We had told them not to come and warned them that the ad they had read appeared suspicious,” said Zacharaki. “The came anyway; they took their chances.”

The problem of uncontrolled migration is so severe, according to Zacharaki, that the Network of Greek Associations in North Rhine-Westphalia recently published a special guide with advice for people looking for work and housing in Germany.

“Many people, for example, don’t know that if you want to make a living in Germany you must absolutely speak the language,” Zacharaki, who came to Germany as a student and stayed, explained. “Without German they will never be able to assimilate. If they don’t know the language they must first invest in classes. But many don’t want to get involved in this process. They believe that they will find work in some Greek restaurant and their lives will continue as before. Unfortunately, there are just not that many Greek restaurants in Germany.”

Zacharaki explains that people with degrees and specialized professional experience have more chances of success.

“We get a lot of academics, people with many qualifications; the elite of Greece, a fact that of course concerns us greatly. But even they don’t always find work. People who have better chances are doctors, engineers, educators, nurses and professionals from other areas in which there is a shortage in Germany. As far as unspecialized people are concerned, there are simply too many of them here,” said Zacharaki.

Her advice for people determined to make a go of it is to try to find someone they know in the country who can help them out in the early days, and certainly not to make the attempt with the whole family in tow.

According to Zacharaki, 2012 alone saw around 10,000 Greeks migrating to the Rhineland and around 20,000 to all of Germany.

“The opportunities are limited. We call Germany a giant, but did you know that, at least in this region, most of the municipalities are bankrupt?” Zacharaki concluded.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday March 31, 2013 (15:45)  
The irrational crackdown on an Athenian food truck
Greek health cuts a matter of life and death on Samos
Revenge of disaffected Europe risks new crisis sparked in Greece
Experts warn of teenage gambling addiction
Tribute to Nikos Kessanlis, a pioneer and great teacher of Greek art
Armed with a forceful nature and an intrepid spirit, Nikos Kessanlis was a pioneer who changed the course of art in Greece, both as an artists himself but also as rector of the Athens School...
Renowned Greek singer Demis Roussos, 68, dies
Greek singer Demis Roussos, whose often high-pitched pop serenades won him household recognition in the 1970s and 1980s across Europe and beyond and who sold more than 60 million records, h...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Three Greek athletes earn tickets to Prague
2. Varoufakis counting on ECB as Sapin says Greece needs new contract with eurozone
3. Piraeus port U-turn will not hurt China investment: analysts
4. Cash may dry up earlier than thought
5. Obama says Greece needs growth, not more austerity
6. EU rift, cash flow and NPLs worry bankers
more news
Today
This Week
1. Dijsselbloem says Greece has to decide how to move ahead
2. Greece shakes Europe's political kaleidoscope: expect the unexpected
3. France open to easing Greek debt burden, says finance minister
4. The dogma and the command center
5. Greece offers olive branch to seek allies
6. Poll shows most Germans want Greece to stay in eurozone
Today
This Week
1. Greek Elections 2015 | LIVE
2. SYRIZA heads for historic victory but without majority
3. EU must accept that Greek debt relief is inevitable
4. SYRIZA's win will test institutions
5. Greek Elections 2015: The day after | LIVE
6. Athens may veto further EU sanctions against Russia
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.