Migrants get down to business

Albanian and Chinese migrants living in Greece top the list of active foreign business owners as they start to put down deeper roots in the country, according to a research group. «The majority of those that have their own businesses are older immigrants, from the start of the 1990s, who managed to overcome the obstacles of a foreign language and mentality but benefited from different legal regulations that had applied earlier,» said Alexandros Zavos, head of the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (IMEPO). Migrants contribute some 2.5 percent of gross domestic product to the national economy while 10 percent of them have bought their own homes. According to official government data, there are an estimated 1 million migrants living in Greece, which has a total population of some 11 million people. Albanians make up the largest chunk of migrants in Greece and are mostly involved in retail markets that sell goods to other foreigners living in the country. Other Albanians have set up businesses in the construction sector. Data from TEVE, the social security fund that covers the self-employed, show that Albanian nationals account for more than a third of its 13,725 registered foreign members. Chinese migrants are comparatively fewer, numbering about 5,000 people, but are very active entrepreneurs that concentrate on the clothing and footwear retail sector. «The time frame is very small if you compare it with countries such as Great Britain, where Indians and Pakistanis almost control the electrical appliance retail business. (Great Britain) has a history of decades in migrant inflows,» added Zavos.