Two out of three emigrants won’t return

Those who left Greece for economic reasons in the 2010s don’t see any incentives for repatriation

Two out of three emigrants won’t return

Most of the Greeks who left their homeland during the financial crisis  in the 2010s do not want to return, according to a study titled “Attitude of Greek Emigrants of the Economic Crisis toward Greece.”

Two in three (67%) said there was no likelihood of them returning within the next five years, one in four (24%) said this was fairly likely, and only 5% said they planned to return within this timeframe. 

“Greek emigrants feel that there is in practice no incentive that could be placed on the scales of their choice to return to Greece, while at the same time the country is identified with a structure and culture sufficiently repugnant to them,” the survey concluded. 

Possible factors to persuade these emigrants to return home would be for the focus of the market and the government to be on research and innovation (38%), the establishment of meritocracy in personnel selection (28%) and the state’s reliability for citizens (14%).

Analysts interpret the results as a product of a sense of disillusionment combined with their current good standards of living.

“In fact, two out of three believe that Greeks who migrated after 2009 differ significantly in terms of mentality from their peers who stayed in Greece,” the survey’s chief, Revekka Paidi, an associate professor in the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Macedonia, said in comments to Kathimerini.

The survey’s stated objective was to comprehend the attitudes of those that left during the years of the “brain drain.”

More than 500 Greeks up to 50 years old, living in Britain, US, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, participated in the survey.

The main reason for emigration was financial, with eight out of 10 (78%) saying that when they were living in Greece they found it very difficult to cope. 

By contrast, today, nine out of 10 (87%) say they are comfortable financially, meaning their living standards have risen significantly.

However, the survey showed that they are still not socially integrated in their new place of residence.

Tellingly, the social circle of one in two (46%) consists of Greeks or migrants from another country (28%). 

Only one in four (24%) is friendly with or in a social circle with locals.


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