Crisis: more Greeks moving to Cyprus in search of work

Especially in overcrowded education sector

12 December, 14:44

(ANSAmed) - NICOSIA, DECEMBER 12 - The ongoing global economic crisis has led to record unemployment levels in Cyprus, but the figures in Greece are worse, and have led an increasing number of Greek citizens to emigrate to the Mediterranean island in search of work.

The rate of unemployment in Cyprus (which has a population of just under 800,000) is high, increasing from 7.9% in September to 8.2% in October, Eurostat says. In September, more than one in five people under the age of 25 (22.7%) was unemployed. The overall unemployment rate in Greece is more than double the figure in Cyprus, reaching 18.4% in August after standing at 17.7% in July. The rate of unemployment among Greeks under the age of 25 is today at 45.1%.

This has caused a mass exodus of Greeks, many of whom have come to the island to look for work, particularly in the employment sector, as Stelios Stylianou, the head of the Educational Service Commission (ESC), confirms. Stylianou says that the number of Greek teachers enrolled in the endless and effectively redundant "waiting list" created by the Ministry for Public Education has seen a "formidable" increase, more than doubling in 2010 compared to the previous year. The total number of teachers on the waiting list in January 2011 was 35,644, of which 7,128 (20%) were Greek citizens.

Yet finding a job remains a lottery, even if theoretically, seniority and experience should make the situation easier for Greek teachers than for their Cypriot counterparts. The annual turnover of teachers retiring is between 200 and 300, against 2,000-3,000 new sign-ups. "The way things are organised here, nobody will find a job, whether Greek or Cypriot," says Marios Thoma, secretary of the "Movement of unemployed teachers" group, which represents around 6,000 candidates waiting for the sort of jobs for which he himself has been waiting for 20 years. "There were very few new appointments this year, so whether there are 10,000 or 100,000 of us on the list, things will not change. Only a handful of them will get a job. There's no point talking about it," he says.

According to estimates from the Greek embassy in Nicosia, there are around 32,000 Greek citizens living in Cyprus. In the last two years, almost 1,500 Greek businesses have upped sticks to the island as a direct consequence of the economic crisis at home, and now represent 10% of the total number of businesses operating in the country. The most significant concentration of Greek investments is in the financial sector, consultancy services, trade and construction.

As far as the employment market in Cyprus is concerned, Greeks have always worked in the hotel sector and in catering, but have now started to look for work in the public sector as well, the embassy reveals.

Even the health sector has become an attractive area for Greeks, as has television. A few days ago, the president of the union of Cypriot actors, Dinos Lyras, said that many young Greek actors are coming to the island to look for work, while the heads of a number of television stations have begun to hire renowned Greek actors to increase viewing figures in the soaps that they produce. (ANSAmed).

© Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

Business opportunities

The information system of business
opportunities abroad

News from Mediterranean