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Only Five Percent of Greeks Abroad Plan to Return, Survey Shows

Greeks Abroad
Young Greek-Americans show their pride by holding the Greek flag with the illuminated Savannah Convention Center behind them. Credit: Vasilis Varlagas

Only five percent of Greeks living abroad plan to return home in the next five years, a survey by the University of Macedonia revealed on Friday.

According to the results of a survey on the attitude of Greek Immigrants to Greece during the Economic Crisis, conducted by a research group of the Department of International and European Studies, 67% of respondents excluded the possibility to return to Greece during the next five years, while 24% replied that it is a possibility.

Head of research Rebecca Paidi said that the main conclusion that emerged from the research is that Greek men and women who emigrated from Greece in the period after 2009, “do not wish to return, not today, not in a five-year horizon, and many of them not even within the next twenty years.”

The survey involved 565 people living in Germany, the UK, the US, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries.

Presenting the characteristics of the new diaspora, she pointed out that the people who went abroad from Greece, “do not have a strong national or religious identity, they feel citizens of the world.”

She added that they are satisfied, in the majority, with the standard of living in the country where they live and they have a sense of being different in relation to their peers who have stayed in Greece. “They feel more capable,” Paidi said.

This new diaspora is mostly educated and is immigrating within the EU as with the status of a European citizen it is easier to move to the country of origin. Also, technology has changed things due to social media and the facilitation of social contact.

Greeks living abroad lack incentives to return

According to the survey, the Greeks who emigrated wish to contribute to the country through the know-how and knowledge they have acquired but feel that there are not enough incentives to return.

55% of the respondents answered positively on whether they would like to participate in a plan to support the country abroad.

Paidi emphasized that half a million Greeks who emigrated since 2009 are the “capital of the nation” and Greece needs to establish a new relationship with them.

“The communication framework with the diaspora needs to be reformed,” she said and noted the need “to formulate the appropriate policies to restore the relationship of these people with the motherland.”

Related: The Greek Diaspora Around the World

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