Greece Working Visas: Job Regulations and Requirements

A Guide to Working Abroad in Greece: Exploring Opportunities in the Mediterranean Jewel

Are you considering a career move to Greece? Welcome to a country celebrated for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and a growing startup sector. Greece offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and modern business opportunities, making it an attractive destination for professionals worldwide. This guide will provide you with essential insights to navigate the Greek job market and fulfil your career aspirations in this Mediterranean paradise.

To work in Greece, you’ll need to navigate its job market effectively. Understanding local business culture, networking, and having a grasp of the Greek language can significantly enhance your employment prospects. Additionally, Greece’s strategic location offers unique opportunities for businesses looking to expand in both European and Middle Eastern markets. Living and working in Greece is not just about career growth; it’s also about experiencing a lifestyle enriched with history, art, and natural beauty. From the ancient ruins in Athens to the idyllic islands, Greece offers a quality of life that is both inspiring and relaxing.

EU citizens

Embarking on a new career path in Greece? Here’s what you need to know as an EU citizen.

Greece, with its rich history and vibrant culture, has become an enticing destination for EU citizens seeking employment opportunities. Understanding the job regulations and requirements is crucial for a smooth transition. Let’s delve into the key aspects you need to consider for working in Greece in 2023/2024.

*Law 5053/2023, effective from September 26, 2023, transposes EU Directive 2019/1152 into Greek law, focusing on transparent and predictable working conditions.

1. Visa Requirements

As an EU citizen, you have the right to work in Greece without needing a work visa. This privilege stems from the freedom of movement within the European Union. However, it’s always wise to keep abreast of any changes in EU policies or bilateral agreements that might affect this status. 

2. Residence

If you plan to stay for more than three months, you need to obtain a registration certificate from the local police station. This permit is granted to those who are employed or have sufficient resources, and it is valid for five years, and renewable. To apply, you’ll need your ID or passport, an engagement statement from your employer, and proof of resources.  The process is typically straightforward, involving proof of employment, identity, and possibly health insurance. The social insurance number (AMKA).

3. Health Insurance & Tax Implications

Health Insurance: Greece’s National Health System (ESY) offers free or equitable access to health services. As an expat, you’ll have access to public healthcare if you contribute to the Social Insurance Institute (IKA). Upon employment, you should apply for national health insurance. EU citizens can also use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for temporary coverage. Private healthcare, while more expensive, offers English-speaking staff and modern facilities.

Tax Implications: Upon residence, you receive a personal tax registration number (AFM) for tax services and an AMKA for social security services. EU citizens must file an income tax return in Greece. Social Security contributions are fully deductible from taxable income. Tax reduction varies based on income and number of dependents. Foreign tax residents from the EU/EEA are eligible for tax deductions under certain conditions.

4. Vital Steps for a Seamless Stay
  • Before Arrival: Ensure you have a valid ID/passport and understand the job market and living conditions in Greece.
  • Upon Arrival: Register with the local police if staying for more than three months.
  • Obtain your AFM and AMKA: numbers for tax and social security services.
  • Healthcare: Register with IKA for national health insurance and consider private health insurance for additional coverage.
  • Stay updated on new procedures and laws: especially with the new migration code in 2024.
  • Integration: Learn about Greek culture and language to ease integration into your new environment.
6. Some Vital Steps for an Enjoyable Stay
  • Networking: Connect with other expats and locals to build a support system.
  • Exploration: Experience Greece’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay informed about any changes in regulations that may affect your stay or employment.
Working in Greece as an EU citizen involves understanding and complying with specific regulations and requirements. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth transition and a successful professional experience in Greece.

Non-EU citizens

As the Greek economy continues to evolve, so do the opportunities for non-EU citizens seeking employment in this culturally rich and historically significant country. With significant reforms in the national Migration Code and the implementation of new laws such as Law No. 5053/2023 and Law No. 5038/2023, Greece is streamlining its work regulations and requirements. These changes, aligning with EU Directive 2019/1152, make it more accessible for international talent to contribute to its diverse workforce. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a non-EU citizen planning to work in Greece in 2023/2024.

1. Securing a Greek Work Visa

a) Eligibility and Application

To work in Greece, non-EU citizens must first obtain a work visa. Eligibility now hinges on the new provisions set forth by the reformed Migration Code and Law No. 5038/2023. A confirmed job offer from a Greek employer remains crucial, with the employer playing a pivotal role in the visa application process by providing necessary documentation and support.

b) Required Documents: Typically, the application requires:

  • A valid passport
  • An employment contract or binding job offer
  • Proof of professional qualifications
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Background checks or certificates

c) Application Process

The visa application is usually submitted at the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country. It involves an interview and a review of your submitted documents. The processing time can vary, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended start date.

Obtaining a Residence Permit in Greece

a) The Crucial Next Step
Once in Greece with a work visa, the next critical step is applying for a residence permit. This permit legalizes your long-term stay and employment in the country.

b) Application Procedure
The application for a residence permit should be initiated immediately upon arrival in Greece. You’ll need to visit the local Alien and Immigration Department with your documents, including:

  • A completed application form
  • Your valid work visa
  • Proof of a Greek address
  • Employment details
  • Biometric data (photos and fingerprints)

c) Processing Time and Validity
The processing time for residence permits can vary, but it’s generally advisable to expect several weeks. Once issued, the permit is usually valid for one to three years and can be renewed.

2. Tips for a Smooth Process

1. Stay Informed:
Immigration laws can change. Stay updated on the latest requirements by regularly checking official Greek government websites or consulting with legal experts.

2. Be Prepared:
Gather all necessary documents in advance and ensure they are accurately translated into Greek if required.

3. Seek Assistance:
Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from your employer, legal advisors, or the Greek embassy in your home country, especially if you encounter language barriers or complex bureaucratic procedures.

Navigating the visa and residence permit process in Greece as a non-EU citizen can be intricate but manageable with proper preparation and understanding. By following these guidelines and staying informed, you can set the stage for a successful and enriching professional experience in Greece.

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Frequently Asked Questions

EU citizens don’t need a work visa due to the freedom of movement within the EU. Keep updated on any policy changes.

Yes, for stays over three months, obtain a registration certificate from the local police station, valid for five years and renewable.

EU expats can access public healthcare through the Social Insurance Institute (IKA) or use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for temporary coverage. Private healthcare is also available.

Yes, EU citizens must obtain a tax number (AFM) and file income tax returns in Greece. Social Security contributions are deductible, and tax rates vary based on income and dependents.

Before arrival, understand Greece’s job market and living conditions. Upon arrival, register for a stay over three months, obtain AFM and AMKA numbers, and register for healthcare. Stay informed about new laws and integrate into the culture.

Non-EU citizens must secure a work visa through a Greek employer’s support, providing a valid passport, job offer, professional qualifications, health insurance, and background checks. The application is made at a Greek embassy or consulate.

Once in Greece, apply for a residence permit at the local Alien and Immigration Department with your work visa, Greek address proof, employment details, and biometric data. Processing takes several weeks, and permits are valid for 1-3 years.

Stay informed about law changes, prepare all documents (translated into Greek if needed), and seek assistance from your employer, legal advisors, or the Greek embassy.

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