As migration fragments people’s lives, so the portability of social rights restores continuity. It thus could affect links between the diaspora and the homeland. Greece, with both an ‘Old’ and a growing ‘New Diaspora’, should have much to profit by employing portability as policy lever. Yet, this never happened. In this paper this paradox is tackled by appealing to both the theory of pensions, and the course of social insurance in Greece. As different kinds of pensions follow different logics, effective communication between different national systems presupposes clarity and demarcation of purpose. However, fragmentation and reform postponement promoted persistent ambiguity. So, in the past á la carte solutions were implemented to ad hoc problems, whether to deal with ‘returning diasporas’ from Egypt, circular migration in Europe, or transcontinental migration to Australia. As globalisation ‘regularises’ migration, and interventions are coordinated by the EU, the new post-crisis Greek pension system needs to be ‘future proofed’. When more systems internationally rely on individual accounts, countries that do not possess equivalent savings vehicles hinder rights transfers. In this way, the new Greek pension system could place obstacles to links with the old diaspora and disincentives to return for the new.


Greece, Diaspora, Pensions, Migration, Ageing