Even if the establishment of the right to free movement, employment and settlement across the European Union for Greek citizens in 1988 allowed for unrestricted mobility, this never took the form of a major outmigration. Until recently, Greeks were notably registered among the least mobile Europeans. However, this seems to be gradually changing following the post 2008 Greek crisis. The combined effects of recession, austerity, and a generalized mistrust towards institutions and disillusionment from the political system have redefined mobility intentions in Greece. Despite the previously recorded skepticism, many Greeks were forced by the circumstances to change their views on mobility in a very short time span. Approximately 400,000 Greek citizens appear to have left Greece in the past 7 years heading to various destinations primarily in Northern and Western Europe. But the crisis does not only feed the resurgence of Greek emigration in terms of volume, but also brings qualitative changes. A major transformation seems to be underway: migration is now more a matter of need rather than one of choice, even though the motivations of “crisis” migrants are not limited to mere economic need but are rather framed in a wider context of lack of prospects in the country, as well as positive evaluations of life and work abroad. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected in the context of the SEESOX Greek Diaspora and the EUMIGRE projects, this presentation aims to provide an assessment of the recent resurgence of emigration from Greece. It also critically discusses the main labels used to describe the migration namely, brain drain, new emigration and crisis-driven migration.
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