migrants in greece

Migrants in Greece



hire replace complain
legal field (2) peninsula
rush wound pick up truck
forbid harvest technically
curse threaten strawberry
pellet exploit approach
owe justice arbitrary
glove convict slave away
acquit assault aggravate
settle foreman greenhouse
edge council pensioner
mayor respect make due
elect latrine integrate
shout survive town hall





These immigrants from Bangladesh have come to Greece illegally. If they are lucky, a farmer will stop at this corner and hire them to work in his fields.

It’s 5:30 in the morning on the Peloponnese peninsula.

Migrant workers: “I get two euros and hour, but often less is paid out. And if we complain, the boss says there are enough others to replace us.”

A pickup truck filled with day laborers rushes past them in the darkness.

Then another approaches.

But when the driver discovers the camera, he turns around because hiring illegal immigrants is technically forbidden.

Disappointed, the men go their way. Today, they won’t be getting any work.

We drive out to the fields.

The strawberry season is over. Now potatoes are being harvested.

It soon becomes clear we are unwelcomed here because a lot of money is made hiring illegal day workers.

One of the farmers curses and threatens us. Only with effort can he be prevented from destroying the camera.

In late July of this year, a district court trial in the port city of Patras demonstrated drastically how illegal immigrants are being exploited.

More than 20 strawberry pickers were shot and wounded on a large farm last year. They had complained because they hadn’t been paid for six months.

Some still have shot pellets in their bodies.

Migrant worker leader: “These people owe about 200 of us, almost 150,000 euros.

We want our money.

And we want justice.

In the summer we slave away at greenhouses at temperatures of up to 60 Celsius.”

Two men were convicted of aggravated assault. The farm owner and head foreman were acquitted.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants have settled in the community of Neomadiadis on the Peloponnese.

Trains no longer stop here. The financial crisis has cost many Greeks their jobs.

But the hard work in the fields is left to migrants from Asia.

In the evening they set up a few market stalls on the edge of the village. They sell familiar foods and work gloves.

They have to buy those themselves.

A Greek pensioner from the garden next door shouts, “We need these people. They should stay.”

They’re expected to live in tents outside the village. Nearly a hundred men have made their homes under sheets of plastic.

Dulak from Bangladesh shows us the camp. He’s been living illegally in Greece for five years.

Dulak: “This is where we wash. And back there…are the latrines.”

They get nothing to eat at the farms. They have to make due for themselves.

But they say it’s still better than where they come from.

Dulak: “We can’t go back to Bangladesh. We don’t have enough food or work there. Here at least we have enough to survive.”

The hopes of Neomaniadis illegal migrants rest on this man. Nabil Morad, a doctor, is the newly elected mayor in the district seat of Lechina.

Morad was born in Syria. He’s the first immigrant to become a mayor in Greece.

Morad has lived in Greece for 25 years. He’s a well-respected citizen and completely integrated into society.

Those who voted for him say he’s different from the seasonal workers from Bangladesh.
Journalist: “Are there good and bad foreigners?”
The mayor says “no”.

Morad: “I will take care of these people. One of my first official acts will be to set up a counseling center in the town hall for migrants.

I expect support from the Bangladeshi Embassy.

They can bring their complains and problems to this office. We also want to offer language courses.

Their living conditions have to improve.”

But there’s one thing they won’t get in this town hall: documents giving them legal status.

Only the government can issue those.

But Greece has called a halt to immigration, after all their hard work, Dulak and his friends are disappointed in the Greeks.

Dulak: “The main problem is that we have no papers. We get picked up by the police all the time. And the farmers think they don’t have to pay us.

Because we’re here illegally, we have to live here with no electricity or running water.”

So for now, the immigrants in the fields in the Peloponnese will remain subject to the arbitrariness of their employers.


*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. How do the migrants get work? Where do they get work?

2. They earn very little. True or false? Are they always paid (on time)? What happens if they complain?

3. Do they plant and harvest the same crops all year?

4. The farmers like to be filmed because it’s good for marketing. Is this correct or wrong?

5. Are there lots of jobs and work in Greece?

6. Describe the accommodation of the migrants.

7. Do they want to stay in Greece or return to their homeland?

8. Who is Nabil Morad?

9. Will the migrants receive citizenship or residency?
A. There are many migrants in my city. True or false? If yes, where do they come from?

B. What kind of work do immigrants do?

C. Do they live in good or poor conditions?

D. Police and officials turn a blind-eye to illegal migrants. Yes or no? If yes, whey do they turn a blind-eye?

E. What will happen to the migrants in the long run?

F. Will there be more, less or the same amount of migrants?

Share Button

Comments are closed.