The full report on Georgia is available for download here.
Geography and Population statistics
• Southwestern Asia, prescription
bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe; note – Georgia views itself as part of Europe• Strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
• Population: 4,555,911 (July 2013 est.)
• Urban population: 53% of total population (2010)
• TBILISI (capital) 1.115 million (2009)
• Ethnic groups: Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
• Net migration rate: -3.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
(Source: CIA The World Factbook)
• Government type: republic
• Independence: 9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier date: A.D. 1008 (Georgia unified under King BAGRAT III)
• Constitution: adopted 24 August 1995
• Chief of state: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); the president is the chief of state and serves as head of government for the power ministries of internal affairs, justice, and defense
• Head of government: Prime Minister Bidzina IVANISHVILI (since 25 October 2012); the prime minister is head of government for all the ministries of government except the power ministries of internal affairs, justice, and defense
(Source: CIA The World Factbook)
Migration patterns and trends
According to Badurashvili, and Nadareishvili (2012) we can distinguish three periods of socio-economic and political development in Georgia. The first one, starting in 1991, is characterized by total political and economic stagnation. Georgia’s transition into the post-Soviet era was exceptionally complex due to territorial conflicts and civil unrests. Separatist movements that emerged in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia -which used to enjoy an autonomous status during the Soviet era- compelled the majority of their Georgian population to flee those regions. In addition, the removal of the first democratically elected president in 1992 lead to a civil war between his supporters and his opponents. Those conflicts lead to an economic collapse. The period of political and economic stabilization begins in 1995, when Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, was elected president and remained in that position until the ‘Rose Revolution’ in 2003. The third period, that of economic development is begins in 2004, when Mikheil Saakashvili was elected.
In general, most scholars separate the trends of Georgian migration into three periods that more or less coincide with the periods of Georgia’s socio-political and economic development described above. For instance the CRRC/ISET (2010) report distinguishes three waves of international migration: the Collapse and Conflict starting in 1990 and ending in 1995, the Economic Struggle between 1996 and 2004, and the Possible Revival from 2004 and on.
During the first period, up to 1994-5, migration outflows were mainly triggered by ethnic motivations and those migrating for financial reasons were significantly fewer in numbers. Thus this first wave of migrants was mainly comprised by war refugees and ethnic minorities, such as Greeks and Jewish, returning to their home-lands. The second wave, between 1996 and 2004, was smaller in size and driven mainly by economic motives. (CRRC/ISET, 2010: 8) As for the current phase, starting in 2004, the evidence is not yet concrete.
Migration to Greece
Migration from Georgia to Greece started in the early and mid – ‘90s, when a considerable number of ethnic Greeks repatriated from Georgia who were soon followed by economic migrants. According to a report by the People‘s Harmonious Development Society and the TASO Foundation (2010) Greece became an attractive destination for Georgian immigrants for a number of reasons, namely: its demand of workforce in labour markets, its economical attractiveness, the developed transportation infrastructure between the two countries, the cultural similarities / physical likeness their people and the presence of a developed social network.
Georgian migration to Greece is highly gendered. According to the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (El.Stat.), in the 4th trimester of 2012 73% the Georgian citizens residing in Greece were women. The gender gap appears to have deepened over the past few years, which can be most likely linked to Georgian’s labor market situation as the sectors where Georgian men where typically employed, such as manufacturing and construction work, suffered more by the economic crisis than the domestic sector which consists the main niche of Georgian women.
Nikolova and Maroufof (2010) separate migration from Georgia and Ukraine into two phases, based on Greece’s shifts in migration policy. The first phase begins with the start of migratory inflows from those countries in the early 90’s and it is characterized mainly by irregularity of residence status. This period ends with the implementation of the first regularization program in 1998. After that, Georgians, as any other nationality, are given the opportunity to regularize their status and their living and working conditions are significantly improved. However, given the decline in valid residence permits for the purpose of employment, which clearly will lead to a subsequent decrease in permits for the purpose of family reunification, the fact that the last regularization program took place in 2007 and concerned only those who had arrived up to 2005 the search and use of alternative strategies in order to regularize their status perhaps we can speak now of a new phase characterized by an increased ‘return to irregularity’ and a ‘false and/or temporary regularity’.
• Alasania, G. (2006). Women in Georgia. IBSU International Refereed Multi-diciplinary Scientific Journal, No1 2006. Available from: http://journal.ibsu.edu.ge/index.php/ibsusj/article/viewArticle/11
• Badurashvili, I. & Nadareishvili, M. (2012a). Social Impact of Emigration and Rural-Urban Migration in Central and Eastern Europe, Country Report, Georgia, April 2012
• CRRC/ISET, (2010). Development on the Move: Measuring and Optimising Migration’s Economic and Social Impacts in Georgia, Tbilisi. Available at: http://www.ippr.org/uploadedFiles/_research_teams_2009/Projects/Global_Change/Georgia%20FINAL%20(April%202010).pdf
• Nikolova, M. & Maroufof, M. (2010). “Georgian and Ukrainian immigrants in Greece”’ in: A. Triandafyllidou, Th. Maroukis (eds) ‘The immigration in Greece in the 21st century’, Kritiki, 2010 (in Greek)
• People‘s Harmonious Development Society & TASO Foundation, (2010). Peculiarities of Migration Processes from Georgia to Greece
• Badurashvili, I., (2004). Determinants and Consequences of Irregular Migration in a Society under Transition. The Case of Georgia. Available at: http://paa2004.princeton.edu/papers/41960
• Human Rights Defense Center (2011). ‘Aspects of irregular migration and human trafficking in Greece. A legal and empirical survey’. Available at: http://www.kepad.gr/publication.php?mId=33&aId=147
• Caucasus Research Resource Centres (CRRC), (2007). Migration and Return in Georgia: Trends, Assessments, and Potential. A report submitted to the Danish Refugee Council by Caucasus Research Resource Centres, Tbilisi (http://www.crrc.ge/)
• Hofmann, E., Buckley, C., (2008). Cultural responses to changing gender patterns of migration in Georgia. Available at: http://paa2008.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submissionId=80486