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Crisis-hit Greeks flock to Sweden

AFP/The Local · 6 Jun 2012, 08:26

Published: 06 Jun 2012 08:26 GMT+02:00

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"It looks like there will be double the number of Greeks coming this year as last year," Komninos Chaideftos, the head of the National Greek Federation in Stockholm, told AFP, noting that more than one million people are now officially unemployed in Greece.

According to the Swedish Migration Board, the number of Greeks granted residence permits more than doubled between 2010 and 2011, from 371 to 767, and appeared set to rise even higher this year, with 400 registered by June 1st.

As European Union citizens, Greeks can spend three months in Sweden without a residence permit, but after that they need to show they have a job or a way to support themselves to be granted legal residence.

"There are many, many more Greeks who have not been able to get a residence permit than those who have," Chaideftos said, adding that the situation would

certainly worsen further after the summer when the seasonal tourism jobs in

Greece evaporate.

Already, he said, his organization was seeing homeless Greeks in Sweden.

"This is the first time we've seen this kind of Greeks, regular people, not substance abusers, ending up homeless in Sweden," he said, adding that many young people desperate to find work were ending up on the streets.

"I have been in touch with around 50," he said.

The problem, Chaideftos said, was that Greeks back home were desperate and willing to believe in a myth that Sweden was an easy country to get by in.

"They have this idea that Sweden is a place where you can easily find work and housing," he said, noting that his organization had set up a working group aimed at informing Greeks back home and in Sweden about the way things actually work in the Scandinavian country.

Story continues below…

"I mean, finding housing in Stockholm especially is a huge problem even for people who already live here," Chaideftos said, adding that many highly educated Greeks were unable to land jobs they were qualified for and were instead getting stuck doing poorly paid unskilled labour.

"These people can't pay 10,000 kronor ($1,400) for a small one-bedroom apartment when they're making 30 to 40 kronor an hour," he said.

His organization has also recently started Swedish classes for Greeks who do not have residence permits and are therefore not entitled to the free classes offered by Swedish municipalities, in a bid to help them enter society and find work.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:48 June 6, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
"His organisation has also recently started Swedish classes for Greeks who do not have residence permits and are therefore not entitled to the free classes offered by Swedish municipalities, in a bid to help them enter society and find work."

Umm... isn't it illegal to live in Sweden and work without a permit? Hence helping them with language training so they can work is aiding and abiding criminals if we want to be frank about it. Does this organization receive public funding???
10:12 June 6, 2012 by Boar
As an EU you can live and work without a visa in most of the European countries. If you get work then you will be able to get a visa and personnel number easily. Or, you need to have enough money or find a local partner. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get into the system. No one would deport you as long as you are an EU member. It's like travelling on your own risk.
10:20 June 6, 2012 by StockholmSam
No, bourgeoisiehoheme, Greeks are EU citizens and therefore entitled to resettle and work in Sweden. It is a basic tenet of the EU that labor movement be as free as capital movement across borders within the union. Get your (very basic) facts straight before you go painting entire groups of people as criminals and whining about your precious tax dollars.
10:25 June 6, 2012 by Puffin
So according to The Local *soaring* numbers are an increase from 400 to 800 people?
10:45 June 6, 2012 by kenai
:( I think it's better for Sweden to quit the EU, I lived in sweden as a child and when I came back after 20 years everything had changed to the worst. Next time I'll go to Iceland.
10:46 June 6, 2012 by Strongbow
#2 Boar: "No one would deport you as long as you are an EU member."

Well, that could be a future problem for all Greek EU expats if Greece exits Schengen.
11:43 June 6, 2012 by Mb 65
They won't stay too long when they realise they will have to pay their taxes here.
11:48 June 6, 2012 by digitalamish
"Strongbow", please learn the difference between the Schengen area, EU or maybe even the Euro-zone (single currency union) before making ignorant comments... Google it up or something...
11:52 June 6, 2012 by Boar
@ Strongbow: For EU,

But, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland are not in EU but in Schengen. Can't one go and live there. Yes.

UK, Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania are in EU but not in Schengen. Can't one live there? Yes.

Again EES comes and takes the next lead.

Can't one live in Seria same as like in EU or Schengen. NO. But, you can travel without a visa for a limited period.
11:58 June 6, 2012 by SwedenMonkeyTrash_istan
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:10 June 6, 2012 by Pojken
Oh my God, that's why my Greek boyfriend's parents visited last week. They were scoping out the joint. I should have known. Bastards!
12:22 June 6, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Glad there were some helpful people clearing up the misconceptions on the Schengen and movement of people inside the EU for those of us who are not up to speed on these issues. Very helpful of you.
12:40 June 6, 2012 by Boar
It was Serbia not Seria. Was a spelling mistake. Those Yugoslavian countries I meant. Otherwise, a person who is from the rest of that Yugoslavia can live in any European country. But, not to mention Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and 5% of Turkey which are in Europe too.
12:51 June 6, 2012 by G Kin
OBS. The Greeks that hate and even abuse immigrants in their country, perhaps they too can have an understanding of how life can be on the other side.

As you do well today, always remember things could get worse tomorrow...I am amazed by the situation now where Portuguese are moving among other places, to their formal COLONY ANGOLA to look for work, opportunities there.
13:01 June 6, 2012 by Boar
I suppose anybody would do the same thing as Greeks if people keep on taking the shelter of their first Asylum destination. EU states that one has to apply asylum in the country they arrived. When thousands of people gather on daily basis it can become a headache for Greece too. Everyone wants their own domination. No where in this world will the people let other people come and rule them. Today we have foreign nationals in Parliament in Sweden. All other countries are worse. There is no country more diverse than Sweden. Sweden is the most tolerant society. Sorry. But those are the facts.
13:03 June 6, 2012 by coolduck
Please to all readers and commentators, have your facts straight before you "blurring" unclear things.

All EU members can stay up to 3 months within a country that belongs to EU.

The period of stay valid every time you fly out the residence country and come back the next day. Now that we made clear the legal part, I remind you that Swedish state might accept immigrants but the do have rules:

- Rule #1: Register to tax office to get your personnummer

- Rule #2: You are entitled to follow Swedish lessons from SFI (fro free) or go to Swedish university and pay for those lssons - better quality of Swedish language than SFI.

- Rule #3: Request for a residence permit after the 3 months period.

@ SwedenMonkeyTrash_istan: Dear friend in your eyes (as Swedish & international media portrays) Greeks appear lazy. But let me refresh your memory, since you are not searching to find answers to all the non-facts they are presenting Swedish media. Check please this link: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=ANHRS , It is the OECD statistics. Greeks my friend work 500h more per year than any other Swedish employee. Swedish hours worked/year/worker are at 1600h. For Greeks are at 2100h. So I guess this cancels what fact you might have about Greek LAZY people. Those people that they have served your coffee or cleaned your hotel room or even helped very kindly you find your way when you were lost and you asked for information. Greeks are not lazy, stupid maybe but not lazy. Their economy today was not a but financial management of the last 30 years. It is easy to talk when you haven't participate in any war more than 200 years. Greeks were under Turkish, Italian and German occupation for many years. Maybe we should ask the Germans to pay back all the insurances about the buildings and people they killed during the WWII.

Please get your facts right next time. It is not nice to create impressions.
13:36 June 6, 2012 by HelmiVainikka
Greek people "per sé" are not lazy, but the entire political structure of the country is corrupt to the bone and unfortunately there is always a certain "thrust vector" created that makes people jump on the bandwagon.

"Maybe we should ask the Germans to pay back all the insurances about the buildings and people they killed during the WWII."

And what would that fix? Thats right, nothing but "some cash" which would be burned up quickly and in a few years we would be where we are today.

As long as corruption and a corrupted system remain in power, you can dump all the money in the world into Greece and it wont help one single bit.

And since you mentioned the 200 years number, keep in mind that Greece went bankrupt no less than 4 times during the last 200 years.

A fish starts to stink from its head, my friend.
13:53 June 6, 2012 by JulieLou40
# 17: Hear hear.

Worth noting though, that if we have an influx of Greeks, we might start to see some decent kebab houses :-D
14:21 June 6, 2012 by Migga
Greece doesn`t need any more money or packages from the EU. They need a fresh start without corrupt people in power. Otherwise history will just repeat itself. To do so they need to leave the EU and the euro. But this process will take longer if the young and educated flee the country. They are the ones who should stay behind and get the country back on track.
14:35 June 6, 2012 by CoolPeople
Although I don't really care about what is going on in Greece, I have realized something, after I have already read a lot of articles concerning crisis in different countries, either the crisis is economical or political or whatever.

I cannot understand why people care and after reading the article, are writing bad comments above? You don't like Turkey,Greece,Spain,Italy (just examples)? Don't read the article, why you have to write bad comments afterwards?

I realized that the people when you are trying to talk to them in the everyday life, about a situation that takes place in a country, they always try to be neutral, but when they talk unofficial hidden behind a nick-name on internet most of the times say bad things.

Kebab = Turkish :-D
14:59 June 6, 2012 by Beavis
For those whining about the whopping amount of Greeks moving here (less than 1000!) there are fives times as many moving the other way from Sweden!! People forget that Swedes move too! How many are in London for example! It works both way especailly between the EU-Australia-US-Canada
15:19 June 6, 2012 by towns
"There is no country more diverse than Sweden. Sweden is the most tolerant society. Sorry. But those are the facts." - Boar (#15)

Err sorry, but you might want to check your "facts." I highly doubt Sweden is more diverse than say, Papua New Guinea where over 800 different languages are spoken or Indonesia where close to 800 different languages are spoken and there are over 300 distinct ethnic societies, not to mention India. If you're talking about countries with a recent history of immigration, the United States and Canada are both much more diverse than Sweden (if you don't believe go to Toronto or New York and see for yourself). Even in Europe, both the Netherlands and the UK are at least more diverse than Sweden.
15:37 June 6, 2012 by Boar
But, in Sweden they tolerate all religions. And, such people have migrated recently some years ago who were not even born here.

In those English countries those you mention are not some Muslims sitting in the Parliament except those South Asians who have colonial links.

But, in Muslim countries you never see a migrated christian sitting in the parliament unless or until he was born and ethnically lives there.

Netherlands, I have no idea.
17:35 June 6, 2012 by riose
Well, that is good for Sweden.

Most of the people that will come will be qualified workforce, plenty with superior education.

No mafias, criminals and such.
18:17 June 6, 2012 by Abe L
As long as the Swedish government refuses residency it's not really a big deal, they can just send them back after 3 months. It's not good for Sweden or for Greece if their people move here. Folks leaving their country at the first sign of a little discomfort are not the ones you want to adopt in your society.
18:47 June 6, 2012 by towns
@ Boar

I wasn't refuting your claim of Sweden being tolerant, I was saying that "there is no country more diverse than Sweden" is untrue. Regarding the Netherlands since you asked, I know the Mayor of Rotterdam's name is Ahmed Aboutaleb, of Moroccan immigrant origin.
18:52 June 6, 2012 by libertarianism
Re 26, you could also interpret it as people who show initiative, whe adapt, and who are willing to actively create positive change in their lives.
21:00 June 6, 2012 by Greysuede
Greeks are welcome ! Why not? Soon Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians and French will join them ! It's once a lifetime opportunity for them to be here in Sweden. They have rights to be here more than Africans, Middle Easterners, Indian Pakistani.

Just watch to see it's only Irani, Iraqi, Syrians, Pakistani and the likes of them are using these "privileges" since the end of 2nd WW motivating shamelessly that they are " in poverty and misery" and "oppressed" eternally.

Would one believe in it? Maybe problems in themselves as a whole lot?
21:51 June 6, 2012 by libertarianism
27 should refer to 25...
22:13 June 6, 2012 by dizzymoe33
#25 nicely stated
23:05 June 6, 2012 by blue2012
When Greeks migrate to other countries in order to survive they become successful business owners in other words entrepreneurs.

Maybe those Greeks who migrate to Sweden will add value to the economy and society instead of becoming welfare parasites.
01:07 June 7, 2012 by Da Goat
Why has nobody warned about "Greeks bearing gifts" yet?
02:37 June 7, 2012 by occassional
Lets see how these future taxi drivers like it here. One imagines that they will want to be treated better than the immigrants that went/go to Greece. Oh but wait, those poor sods are not direct descendants of Plato, nor do they belong to the Greek Orthodox rot.
09:51 June 7, 2012 by EP
I hope there are more people from Europe coming to Sweden, it will make it less boring. I mean Swedes are so absolutely boring (or as they claim, shy) that I sometimes wonder whether they have a pulse ... welcome the Greeks!!!
12:08 June 8, 2012 by gplusa
What a story about nothing. Yet another slow day at TL. A "doubling" to 700 people ? Wow, where will we fit them all ?

Move along , people. Nothing to see here.
18:53 June 8, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Not a big fan of Greeks, but I'd rather have them here than Arabs.
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