[MGSA-L] Australia's Booming Economy and Shortage of Workers Attract Greeks

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 15:33:32 PST 2012


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From: KALAMOS BOOKS <kalamosbooks at gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 18:20:03 -0500
Subject: [HELLAS-GREECE:8924] Australia's Booming Economy and Shortage
of Workers Attract Greeks
To: HELLAS-GREECE at googlegroups.com

    JANUARY 14, 2012

Australia's Booming Economy and Shortage of Workers Attract Greeks

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203899504577127821001713042.html


By GEOFFREY ROGOW and JAMES GLYNN

Australia is becoming the prime destination for Greeks looking to
escape political turmoil and economic woes at home. The WSJ's Deborah
Kan and Geoffrey Rogow discuss the latest immigration trend on Asia
Today.

SYDNEY—Facing an uncertain economic future at home, more Greeks are
making the 20-hour trip to Australia in search of work.

Short-term arrivals of Greek citizens are up 21% to about 4,000 people
in the six months ended Nov. 30, compared with the period two years
ago, according to Australia's statistics bureau. The latest number
marks the biggest half-year inflow in that period in a decade.

Unlike Greece, with its 17% unemployment rate, Australia's economy is
thriving. A mining boom fueled by demand from China has led to a
shortage of skilled workers and a 5% jobless rate.

The Australian government is easing work-permit requirements to
attract about 125,000 skilled immigrants over the next year to fill
gaps in the current work force. Even truck drivers in Western
Australia's remote mines are earning annual salaries of US$200,000.

Australia is a natural destination for Greeks following a wave of
emigration there after World War II. Australians of Greek origin now
account for about 360,000 out of a total population of 22 million. It
is the fourth-largest Greek community outside Greece after the U.S.,
Cyprus and the U.K., according to the 2006 census.

The flow of Greeks to Australia isn't yet reflected in official
immigration statistics; the primary destination for those leaving
Greece was Germany for the first half of 2011, according to the German
federal statistic bureau and Greek government officials. But the surge
in short-term arrivals signals a likely increase in emigrants in the
future, experts say.

In September, Australia's embassy in Athens hosted a jobs fair for
which more than 10,000 people vied for 800 slots to the event.

Lazarus Karasavvidis, the 35-year-old managing director of
international recruitment and training firm Skillup Australia in
Melbourne, said he has been fielding a flood of calls from students
and professionals in Greece seeking information on how to get work in
Australia. He estimated that as many as 25,000 Greeks will come to
Australia in the next couple of years.

Natalie Gasparis, 21, has been in Australia since October and is
working as a chef in Sydney's Hellenic Restaurant, where she earns
50,000 Australian dollars (US$51,500) a year, just under the national
average wage.

Back in Greece, there was "no longer anything to live for," said Ms.
Gasparis, who comes from the island of Kefalonia, the idyllic setting
for Louis de Bernières's novel "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." "We had
nothing."

Many Greeks who arrive in Australia are turning to Costas Markos,
general secretary of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne. The
capital of Victoria state is home to the world's third-largest
Greek-speaking urban community, behind Athens and Thessaloniki,
according to Victoria's state government.

"I've been in this job for 17 years and in the first 16 years, I've
seen maybe two people ask questions about moving to Australia. In the
last six months, I've seen 200 or 300 people come in asking how they
can move here," said Mr. Markos.

But Greeks coming to Australia in search of work and a better life
will have to compete with a growing throng of other crisis-hit
Europeans.

Between June 30 and Nov. 30, long-term visa holders from the U.K.
jumped 43% to 7,160. Those from Ireland surged 68% over the period to
2,610.

Write to Geoffrey Rogow at geoffrey.rogow at dowjones.com and James Glynn
at james.glynn at dowjones.com

-- 
June Samaras
KALAMOS BOOKS
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