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«Enhancing the Role of Georgian Migrants at Home (ERGEM) Project Georgian Diaspora and Migrant Communities in Germany, Greece and Turkey Transnational ...»

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9.2.4. Situation of Georgian migrants in Turkey

9.3. Transnational activities of Georgians residing in Turkey

9.3.1. Ties between Georgians residing in Turkey and Georgia

9.3.2. Organisations of the Georgian diaspora

9.3.3. Potential of the Georgian diaspora residing in Turkey to contribute to development in Georgia

10. Bibliography

11. Annex

11.1. Diaspora organisations

11.2. Examples of diaspora organisations’ activities

11.3. Questionnaire template

11.4. Interview templates

List of Tables Table 1: Number of Questionnaires from Georgian Diasporas

Table 2: Number of Georgian Migrants in Germany, Greece and Turkey 

Table 3: Frequency of Home Visits by Georgian Migrants

Table 4: Georgian Migrants Sending Funds to Georgia

Table 5: Experience/Skills Gained Abroad and Their Usefulness in Georgia

Table 6: Age Groups Represented by Georgian Migrants According to Gender (Germany)..48 Table 7: Migration between Georgia and Germany

Table 8: Georgian Migrants Represented by Age Group (Greece)

Table 9: Visa Applications of Georgians to Enter Greece

Table 10: Means of Transport and Number of Georgians Arriving in Turkey

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Figure 1: Country and Gender Distribution of Survey Respondents

Figure 2: Map of Georgia

Figure 3: Social Profile of Migrants in the Three Destination Countries

Figure 4: Georgian Migrants Possessing Citizenship in Germany, Greece and Turkey.........29 Figure 5: Georgian Migrants’ Aspiration to Obtain Citizenship in Germany, Greece and Turkey

Figure 6: Survey Results regarding Residence/Visa in the Three Destination Countries......30 Figure 7: Survey Results regarding Work Permit in the Three Destination Countries........... 30 Figure 8: Survey Results regarding Work Sector

Figure 9: Survey Results regarding Professional Qualifications

Figure 10: Survey Results regarding the Family Members Left Behind by Georgian Migrants

Figure 11: Frequency of Communication with Family/Friends in Georgia

Figure 12: Georgian Migrants and Their Wish to Return to Georgia

Figure 13: Survey Results for the Timing of Georgian Migrants Returning Home................. 37 Figure 14: Remittances to Georgia from Greece, Germany and Turkey in 2013

Figure 15: Survey Results regarding Business Investment in Georgia

Figure 16: Overall Response to Usefulness of Experience/Skills Gained Abroad in Georgia

Figure 17: Last Professions in Georgia (Germany)

Figure 18: The Reason for Departure from Georgia (Germany)

Figure 19: Acquiring German Citizenship

Figure 20: Sources of Income for Georgian Migrants (Germany)

Figure 21: Family Members Left Behind by Georgian Migrants (Germany)

Figure 22: Knowledge of Georgian Government Institution Initiatives for Georgians Living Abroad (Germany)

Figure 23: When Will the Migrants Return to Georgia (Germany)

Figure 24: Sending Funds to Georgia (on a regular basis) from Germany

Figure 25: Usefulness of Experience/Skills in Georgia That Were Gained in Germany.........62 Figure 26: Migrants’ Expectations of Georgian Government Institutions (Germany).............62 Figure 27: Last Professions in Georgia (Greece)

Figure 28: Reason for Departure from Georgia (Greece)

Figure 29: Georgian Migrants Possessing and Aspiring to Receive Greek Citizenship.........68 Figure 30: Working Above/Below Qualifications (Greece)

Figure 31: Source of Income (Greece)

Figure 32: Family Members Left Behind (Greece)

Figure 33: Frequency of Contacting the Georgian Consulate (Greece)

Figure 34: Sending Funds to Georgia (on a regular basis) (Greece)

Figure 35: Business Investment in Georgia (Greece)

Figure 36: Usefulness of Experience/Skills in Georgia That Were Gained in Greece........... 79 Figure 37: Migrants’ Expectations of Georgian Government Institutions (Greece)................80 Figure 38: Last Profession in Georgia (Turkey)

Figure 39: Reason for Departure from Georgia (Turkey)

Figure 40: Aspiration to Obtain Turkish Citizenship

Figure 41: Working Above/Below Qualifications (Turkey)

Figure 42: Source of Income (Turkey)

Figure 43: Family Members Left Behind (Turkey)

Figure 44: Sending Funds to Georgia (on a regular basis) (Turkey)

Figure 45: Business Investment in Georgia (Turkey)

Figure 46: Usefulness of Experience/Skills in Georgia That Were Gained in Turkey............ 95 Figure 47: Migrants’ Expectations of Georgian Government Institutions (Turkey).................96

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CIM Center for International Migration CIS Commonwealth of Independent States DAAD Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst DRC Danish Refugee Council EMN European Migration Network EPRC Economic Policy Research Center ERGEM Enhancing the Role of Georgian Migrants at Home ETF European Training Foundation EU European Union FDI Foreign Direct Investment GDP Gross Domestic Product GE Georgia GEL Georgian Lari (currency) GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GR Greece ICMPD International Centre for Migration Policy Development IDP Internally Displaced Person IOM International Organization for Migration MBA Master of Business Administration MFA Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia MIA Ministry of Interior of Georgia MPC Migration Policy Centre MRA Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia NGO Non-governmental Organization PHDS People’s Harmonious Development Society PSDA Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia SCMI Secretariat of the State Commission for Migration Issues TAV TAV Airports Holding TIG Target Initiative for Georgia (EU-Funded) TR Turkey UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees


The ‘Enhancing the Role of the Georgian Emigrants at Home (ERGEM)’ project has completed its inception phase and its outcomes can lead us to new development efforts. The project’s objective – to strengthen the connection between our compatriots residing abroad and their homeland – has been addressed in the most comprehensive manner. Indeed, one of the best means of achieving the above-mentioned objective is to first determine our compatriots’ needs, interests and viewpoints in terms of Georgia’s social and economic development. Bearing this in mind, the ERGEM team visited

and got acquainted with the Georgian diaspora members in three target countries:

Turkey, Germany and Greece. It is particularly noteworthy that the team did such an admirable job in collecting comprehensive data, eliciting sincere answers to the survey questions and gathering useful information for conducting a high quality analysis. As a result of their research, we now have a fuller picture of the Georgian diaspora residing in the three target countries, including their main features (such as size, duration of stay, set of skills, etc.), their means of communication and all factors that would encourage them to contribute to the development of Georgia.

The Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues has recently developed a strategic document that addresses the diversity of the Georgian diaspora. Indeed, this is what the ERGEM team observed in the three countries: the characteristic features, needs and interests of our compatriots vary largely. Georgian emigrants’ profiles sometimes look even contrastive in terms of the background, history and reasons for migrating to different parts of the world. These differences show how necessary it is to implement individually designed initiatives and programmes for Georgian communities abroad. We hope that in addition to assisting us in achieving our goals, the ERGEM project can serve as a supportive initiative to similar projects focused on improving our compatriots’ engagement in Georgia.

I thank the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the other partners for undertaking such an important endeavour, and wholeheartedly wish the project team continued success in achieving its objectives.

Konstantine Surguladze The State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues

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This study sheds light on the differing migration patterns of Georgian migrants and their unique characteristics, experiences, concerns and aspirations. Jointly developed by Georgian institutions involved in migration management and ICMPD, this study reflects the challenges presented by migratory movements to not only Georgian, but many other migration management systems around the globe. In today’s world, it is increasingly acknowledged that migration is influenced by economics, demographics, politics, and human, social and cultural development in sending and receiving countries. Within this growing multi-disciplinary field, studies such as this are important to designing approaches to migration management that are safe, holistic and durable.

The study was carried out as one of the main activities of the EU-funded ‘Enhancing the Role of Georgian Emigrants at Home (ERGEM)’ project implemented jointly by the Danish Refugee Council and ICMPD. The ERGEM project seeks to strengthen ties between the Georgian diaspora and Georgian state institutions as a mean to capitalise on the potential development benefits of migration. Within this framework, objectives include analysing the potential of diaspora actors to contribute to the development of Georgia, improving diaspora outreach and engagement policies by State actors, and improving services and the provision of information to migrants and diaspora members abroad.

Georgia already has the necessary institutional and legislative frameworks for developing an effective diaspora policy, and as such, this project does not aim to reinvent such frameworks. Instead, the project seeks to strengthen the existing diaspora policy through developing a comprehensive analysis of the current situation and experiences of Georgian migrants in their countries of residence. In the process of compiling this report, close partnerships have been developed with the Georgian Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues, the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as diaspora organisations in countries of residence assessed in this study: Germany, Greece and Turkey. These partnerships are key to assuring the sustainability of this action and building cooperation for the benefit of Georgia and its’ diaspora communities into the future.

I am confident that this study will be of use for Georgia in developing its diaspora strategy and strengthening existing approaches for engaging meaningfully with Georgian migrants and diaspora members. Last but not least, I would like to genuinely thank the project team and the project partners, in particular those who contributed to this publication, for their excellent cooperation, their efforts and their dedicated work.

Martijn Pluim Director, Eastern Dimension, ICMPD Section I. Study on Georgian Diaspora and Migrant Communities in Germany, Greece and Turkey

1. Introduction Migration issues are top priorities for the Republic of Georgia, and are discussed as often as politics or economics in all areas of social and political life. Although Georgia is gradually becoming an immigration country, emigration remains an important factor in all areas of development in Georgia. However, it is difficult to estimate how many people migrate from Georgia; different experts provide different estimations which vary significantly. For instance, the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) estimates that in 2012 up to 770,000 Georgians were residing abroad.1 Further, the migration profile of the MPC refers to the Georgian consular registration system, according to which about 400,000 Georgians were registered abroad in 2012.2 Some authors more or less confirm these estimations and state that the number of Georgians abroad amounts to 350,000–500,000 people.3 Others consider that the number may also lie above 1,000,000 people.4 In other words, between 8% and 20% of the Georgian population are abroad. Hence, the current emigration rate in combination with a low immigration rate5 has an impact on the development of Georgia and its society.

Georgia is primarily a country of origin for migrant flows, which are directed mainly towards the USA, Greece, Germany, Turkey, Austria, Russia, and a number of other EU Member States, such as France and Spain6.

Since 2008 a smaller number of Georgian migrants have moved towards Russia and a higher number has chosen Turkey, instead. Now research results also show that European countries, in particular Greece, receive more Georgian migrants.7 Georgia has experienced several migration waves. During the Soviet period, ethnic Georgians largely remained in Georgia, with more than 95% living in the former Georgian Soviet Republic.

Since gaining independence in 1991, Georgia has been seriously affected by out-migration. The population dropped by approximately 20% between the population census in 1989 and the last one in 2002. This can partially be explained by the decline in fertility but is mainly due to emigration.8 This massive out-migration has had significant negative effects on the country’s development in the form of brain drain or brain waste (as many migrants report being underemployed abroad). Moreover, the global financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath has had a negative impact on migrants abroad, squeezing their incomes and leading many to consider returning home. However, given the broader economic situation in Georgia, the reintegration of returning migrants continues to be a challenge.

Remittances from Georgian migrants have boosted the country’s GDP (between 2011 to 2013, the share of remittances of the GDP fluctuated between 8% and 9%).9 One of the goals of the 2008–12 government programme “Georgia Without Poverty” is a positive net migration flow, while also maximising the benefits of migration and remittances.

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