During this phase we gathered quantitative and qualitative data concerning the migrant population in the prefecture of Magnesia. Based on this data we decided on the location of the research, the target groups, and the informant sample, as well as formed a more general idea of the migrants' professional and bureaucratic problems.
We collected demographic data from the Work Permits Bureau of the Prefecture (Analipseos and Iolkou Street), from the District Authorities and its Foreigners' Department (Spiridi and Konstanta Street). 8,564 foreigners were registered in the archives of the Prefecture's Employment Department. In total, since 2001, 18,782 foreigners had submitted applications for a work permit. Almost all of these applications had been granted. Obviously, these numbers do not show us the exact number of foreigners in the area, since many migrants never submitted an application for a work permit and others applied more than once. The real number of foreigners is higher. However, large numbers of migrants, especially after the first legalisation procedure (1997), seem to prefer working legally and to try to obtain the much desired "papers", despite all difficulties. In the Prefecture's total sample, men predominated (6,229 men vs. 1,733 women). The sample also gives us a good picture of the migrants' ages (of course, not of all migrants but only of those who applied for a work permit). The group of people aged 22-40 predominates. Regarding the migrants' distribution according to country of origin, the pattern conforms to the situation prevailing in Greece as a whole: Albanians predominate while Bulgarians and Romanians follow in much smaller percentages.
We also gathered additional data from migration-related state and municipal services. These revealed that during the last few years the number of Albanian workers who file complaints against their employers in the Social Security Service (IKA) is on the rise. These employers refuse to grant their employees the legally required insurance stamps. This new development seems to be a clear result of the legalisation process. Furthermore, we found out that the number of Albanian contractors has increased; the latter, among many others, also employ Greek workers. Moreover, our contact with DOKPY (Municipal Organisation of Social Intervention and Health, Municipality of Nea Ionia) allowed us to communicate some of the integration problems that migrants and repatriates face. In addition, we were informed of the significant extent of violence and wife-battering within the family, as well as of migrant women's greater adjustability to Greek society.
After having studied these figures, we decided that the research would take place in the city of Volos and focus on two migrant communities (and not three, as was originally proposed): Albanians and Bulgarians. These two migrant groups are numerically the most important in the prefecture of Magnesia and they also present very different patterns in relation to gender and family composition, as well as to employment.
This phase lasted from March to September 2004.