NEWS

Migrants boost economy

A large proportion of immigrants in Greece help to boost the country’s economic growth, while matching the annual consumption of the Greeks, it was revealed yesterday as a United Nations report confirmed that many migrants are still falling victim to exploitation by crime rings around the world. Immigrants are contributing one whole percentage point to economic growth, with migrants’ collective annual consumption exceeding 2 billion euros – about the same as Greeks – according to statistics from the Bank of Greece and National Statistics Service. Migrants are also prudent savers, their collective bank deposits amount to some 5 billion euros. Further, immigrants account for 12 percent of contributors to the country’s largest social security fund, the Social Security Foundation (IKA). This statistic relates to 223,725 migrants working legally in various sectors. Of IKA’s male immigrant contributors, more than half (56 percent) are Albanian nationals, followed by Russians (6 percent), Pakistanis (5.6 percent) and Romanians (5.1 percent). Female immigrant contributors are mostly Albanian (39.7 percent) followed by Russians (19.1 percent) and Bulgarians (11.8 percent). More than half (55 percent) of working immigrant women are employed as cleaners, while nearly half (42.8 percent) of male immigrants work in the construction sector. The majority (80 percent) of immigrants living in Greece are of an employable age as compared to 60 percent for Greeks. Apart from the migrants registered on IKA’s books, another 500,000 or so are believed to be fueling the black economy. And it is this area that attracted concern in the UN’s State of the World Population report. The exploitation of foreign women by sex-trafficking rings and the illegal trade in babies, born to terrorized foreign women and sold to childless couples, are both believed to be on the increase in Greece. Meanwhile, authorities have detected an increase in the activity of rings pushing minors into begging and exploiting migrants from Third World countries in agricultural work reminiscent of slave labor.