Six months ago, Greece and Australia ratified a Work and Holiday visa agreement for young adults to visit and temporarily work in the two nations. However, the program has stalled, since the Greek government has not signed the agreement yet.
According to “Neos Kosmos,” the Greek parliament has yet to table the visa program and the agreement must be signed by the seven government Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Tourism, National Economy, Health, Labor, Education and Development.
Greek Ambassador to Australia Haris Dafaranos described the situation to the Greek-Australian news portal: “There is a ratification process which is continuing, and we, the embassy, have asked the competent authorities to expedite the process as soon as possible.”
Australia’s Greek community has grown impatient and is now frustrated with the visa agreement’s pace. Victorian Federal MP Maria Vamvakinou, who participated in the visa’s introduction with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Tsiaras last year, stated to Neos Kosmos that “given the protracted nature of this visa coming into effect, one can only now question the will of the Greek government.”
Vamvakinou added, “One has to ask, beyond due process, what other reasons might there be for their bureaucracy to stall?…Australia’s Greek community is frustrated over this issue, and is asking serious questions as to the Greek government’s commitment to introducing the visa.”
President of the Greek Community of Melbourne Vasilis Papastergiadis said he was “dismayed and disappointed…We had a senior Minister here in May who apparently ratified the agreement and we’ve heard absolutely nothing since.”
Papastergiadis further commented, “What the situation tells us, is that there is a complete lack of interest by the Greek government on this issue, an issue so vital to the diaspora in Australia…We will now write to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on this matter, to ask him to intervene personally and expedite the agreement.”
(Source: New Greek TV)