By Adrian Bishop
Summary: In light of the Greek financial crisis, many Greeks are considering moving to Canada.
Following the huge financial problems faced by the Greek economy, Canada is receiving a flood of interest from Greek nationals who want to live and work there.
President of the Hellenic Community of Vancouver, Peter Kletas, says he has had huge interest from Greeks of many different backgrounds about immigration to Canada.
"In the past month with the strictest austerity measures, we're getting a lot of telephone calls and emails from people in Greece and they're inquiring, 'how do they immigrate to Canada and what are the job prospects here?'" he told the News 1130 Canadian radio station.
"We're seeing people with university degrees that are looking to move their family for a better future here in Canada; from labourers to university professors."
Other Hellenic organizations have also received similar inquiries from nationals wanting to obtain work visas in Canada.
"A while ago, it was in the dozens [of calls]. Now we're approaching a hundred-plus inquiries, and that's just in Calgary,” John Yannitos, President of the Hellenic Society of Calgary, told Metro News.
Canada aims to accept 250,000 immigrants this year, especially those with a good knowledge of English or French and who have good levels of education.
Greeks are ideally placed to benefit, as they get a good education subsidised by the state.
As unemployment is around 25% in Greece at and around 40% for young Greeks, it is no surprise that many Greeks are interested in coming to Canada, which has a relatively strong economy.
According to Bloomberg, the financial news service, more than half of university age Greeks aim to emigrate and 17% are already making inquires. Around 40% of the current graduating civil engineers are planning to work abroad, according to the National Technical University of Athens.
Ex Greek restaurateur George Varvarigos has started working as an auto salesman in Toronto after moving from Greece late last year.
He told the Vancouver Sun newspaper, "[Canada] is a better environment with better chances for people who would like to do something in their life, to have a family, to have their job and to get paid for that and to look straight to the future.”
John Yannitsos says a few dozen Greek residents arrive in Calgary every week. Most are Greek citizens with Canadian relatives or Canadian citizens who had been living in Greece and are now returning.
Many are desperate to start a new life in Canada and are keen to take advantage of opportunities presented.
First Published: Nov 08, 2012