Saturday December 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o 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)  
Youngsters’ memories of the anti-landfill blockades
Event to promote awareness of tax issues for foreign residents
Thousands of children journey into the unknown
Slow compensation thwarts fight against antiquity smuggling
El Greco-inspired, metal sculptures in Russia
SAINT PETERSBURG – Standing beneath the 101.52-meter gold-plated dome of the State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral, Nikos Floros seemed visibly moved. Two works by the Greek artist, each standin...
Documentary traces the musical legacy of the great Nikos Xylouris
For three successive generations, the family of the legendary Cretan singer-songwriter Nikos Xylouris and his brother, the equally famous Antonis Xylouris, known as Psarantonis, have kept th...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
2. Tsipras admits there could be hard days ahead
3. Public medical centers keeping up despite shortages
4. Workers rush to get early retirement
5. Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
6. Moscovici: Creditor inspections to become less frequent and ‘lighter’
more news
Today
This Week
1. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
2. Independent Greeks MP Haikalis claims attempted bribery for presidential vote
3. Independent Greeks leader backs MP's bribery claims, threatens to release video [Update]
4. Greek PM Samaras confronts peril putting his Greek transformation to vote
5. Former premier Mitsotakis to meet President Papoulias to discuss political upheaval
6. Gov't spokeswoman says bribery claims 'badly-played charade,' heralds legal action if evidence not produced
Today
This Week
1. Juncker warns Greeks against voting 'extreme forces' into power
2. Romanos and the dilemma
3. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
6. High stakes
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.