Athens-based researchers associated with the CLANDESTINO Project have challenged the frequently cited guestimates of 1-2 million irregular migrants living in Greece.
In a new report posted on the project’s website they have set out an alternative assessment for 2011 which suggests figure of 390,000 as representing the upper range of credible estimates. This figure is calculated on the basis of CLANDESTINO’s baseline estimate for 2007 updated to take into account apprehension data provided by the Greek authorities and other factors used by researchers to interpret data.
The main components of the stock of irregular migrants in Greece are participants in Albanian seasonal circular migration into the country who come to work in agriculture, construction and tourism. In addition the rersearchers report a constant flow of Asian and African irregular migrants who are directed into the country as a part of international people smuggling operations. One-third of the stock of irregular migrations is believed to have been living in Greece for 8 or more years.
The report’s authors suggests that the political importance given to the irregular migration is disproportionately high given the size of stocks. However they conclude that is may not be surprising given the level of desparation in the country’s search for stability, security and chohesion in the wake of an intense economic crisis, and where politicians have little room to make promises to the electorate on matters which have fallen under the mandate of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.