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Balkan Roma immigrants in Greece: An initial approach to the traits of a migration flow.

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Lambros Baltsiotis
Lambros Baltsiotis



In this paper we examine aspects of Balkan Roma migration toGreece, which started in early 90s. Different Roma groups have been settled inGreecesince then or are continuing to engage in seasonal work in the country. The initial findings of our ongoing field research are presented in this paper. At present are no other independent studies dealing directly with the profile of Balkan Roma immigration inGreece. The aim of this paper is to identify the integration features of the various Roma groups residing inGreece. The findings in our research support the notion that there exist a strong relation between the degree of previous social integration of the Roma in their country of origin and the one inGreece. The location they select to settle, the type of settlement they create and the types of employment they undertake inGreeceare detrimental to their integration in the host society. Additionally, the existence, prior to their settlement in the country, of social or family ties in the host country, as well as the presence of other type of social networks are conducive to their integration. Roma groups, who migrated toGreece, on the contrary of the common belief, have utilized and were assisted by the regularization programmes for irregular immigrants. Findings are also indicate that some of the most integrated sedentary Roma groups have undergone an “invisibility” process, which has resulted in them being perceived as non-Roma in the host country. What has been observed is that Roma groups adapted to state policies and administrative practices inGreece. Some of the better integrated groups were favored by the legislative immigration framework as it was implemented in a non-austere and easy to be infringed manner.    


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