You see them at functions held by the Greek Embassy and the Greek community here, but mainly at casual events held by international corporations and increasingly events they organize themselves. They are university graduates, young academics, scientists and entrepreneurs who form a new generation of Greek economic migrants in the US, known as “Generation G.”
“The trend toward looking for a career and staying in America appears to be on the rise as economic developments in Greece led the country’s creative nucleus to an impasse,” Washington-based lawyer Panayiotis Kallelis tells Kathimerini.
Kallelis says that applications by Greeks for temporary work permits have spiked by 75 percent compared with the 2001-2010 period. There has also been a remarkable rise, 60 percent, since 2005 in applications for a green card allowing long-term residence via an employer-guarantor for those with the necessary educational and professional qualifications.
According to the press officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Stavros Papagermanos, “it is clear to me as well as to people active in the parishes that there has been an increase in migrants [from Greece]. We are often asked to help with work-related or other matters. Given the immigration laws, the support we can give those looking for work without the necessary skills is not always what we would like it to be.” Papagermanos adds that many Greeks travel to America with tourist visas but warns that if they outstay their terms they are risking their future in the US.
The Greek community is also trying to help where it can, either within the US or in Greece. In the first few days of capital controls in summer especially, when the need for cash from abroad became greater, many started flying to Greece with their luggage full of clothes or other goods for their relatives back home, noted Eddie Zemenides, executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC).
“I know of many Greek-Americans who are helping their relatives in Greece financially – parents brothers, cousins etc – which, as far as I know, did not happen in the decades of 1990 and 2000,” confirms Papagermanos.