An Australian Minister is calling on the Federal Government to consider special working visas for Greeks who have been affected by the economic crisis.
About 10 expatriates are leaving Greece every week and settling in the northern Australian city of Darwin.
Northern Territory Government Minister Kon Vatskalis says the Top End is set to face a major skills shortage when a major gas project starts.
He says it makes sense to bring Greeks over on working visas to help fill the gap.
“We’re talking about an exodus of people from the industry now because they are going to get well-paid jobs with Inpex,” he said.
“How are we going to replace these people? We can’t replace them out of nothing.”
New wave of migrants
The face of Australia’s Greek community is rapidly changing because of the economic crisis crippling Greece.
Immigration statistics show around 280 expatriates – mostly families and skilled migrants – have come back to Australia over the past year.
The total number of Greek citizens in Australia is expected to be higher, with many more here on holidays.
The Honorary Consul for Greece in the Northern Territory, John Anictomatis, says there has been a huge influx of new Greeks in Darwin.
“For the last six months, the figures show that on average about 10 new arrivals a week are coming back to Darwin, whether it’s family groups or people coming back on their own before they bring their families back to Australia,” he said.
Drossos Tavlarios, 27, came to Darwin from his home on a Greek island after being unable to get work.
He says he is one of the lucky ones.
“Everything is okay, very nice in Darwin,” he said.
Mr Anictomatis says he gets desperate calls from Greece every week.
“They’re mainly desperate about employment, their children’s future,” he said.
(source: radio australia)