Work Permit Greece
How to Get a Work Permit in Greece - Expat Guide
Table of Contents
Work permit for Greece
Greece has emerged as a thriving place to work in the 2020s. Despite enduring a significant economic crisis in the previous decade, the country has successfully bounced back and is now experiencing a remarkable economic upturn. The government is actively providing financial support to various sectors and actively attracting foreign investment. In this article, we will guide you on obtaining a work permit in Greece, irrespective of your residency or citizenship. The information we share is applicable to both white-collar and blue-collar positions.
Essence of Work Permit
Let’s begin by clarifying the distinctions between a visa (Greece Golden Visa), a work permit, and a residence permit:
- A visa is a document that grants you entry to Greece for a specific purpose. The type D visa allows you to work in the country. However, obtaining a visa alone is insufficient to commence working. It only permits you to cross the border and stay within Greek territory for up to 90 days, exclusively for professional activities.
- A work permit allows for an extended stay in Greece (such as six months or one year) for the purpose of employment. However, it does not serve as authorization for entering the country from abroad.
- A residence permit confirms your eligibility to reside in Greece for an extended period. Not all types of residence permits grant the right to work in the country. For instance, Golden Visa holders are unable to seek employment in Greece – we will discuss this further later on. In most cases, the work permit and residence permit are considered as a unified entity and are not discussed separately.
It is not possible to obtain a universal permit that allows employment in any random company in Greece. Permits are issued for specific organizations and locations.
If you have a short-term contract, it is unlikely that your family members will be permitted to relocate to Greece with you. However, if you qualify for long-term residency, your spouse and children should be able to join you. They will have the right to live, study, and work in this Mediterranean country as well.
Who Is Eligible
To apply for a work permit, it is typically necessary to demonstrate a combination of education and work experience. However, exceptions exist for non-skilled jobs. Additionally, trainees may have the opportunity to work for international companies in Greece with just six months of experience.
According to the law, employers are required to prioritize hiring local specialists, which includes professionals from across the EU, not just Greeks. Only if suitable local candidates cannot be found, companies are permitted to hire expats from outside the EU. Prior to signing a contract with a foreigner, they must prove the absence of alternative options and obtain permission from the authorities.
During the 2010s, many Greeks left their homeland due to difficulties securing employment. They spent several years working for foreign and international companies, gaining valuable knowledge and experience. Now, with the improving economic situation, they are returning to Greece. While this is positive for the nation, it presents challenges for expats who are not of Greek origin or married to a Greek. However, it is important to note that obtaining a work permit is not impossible.
Greece, being a relatively small country, often faces a shortage of highly skilled professionals in areas such as management, technology, medicine, science, and telecommunications. These positions are demanding and well-compensated, requiring an impressive resume.
Another opportunity lies in the fields of sports and creative talents. Individuals with exceptional achievements in music, performance arts, monument restoration, and similar areas may qualify for a work permit.
Signing a contract as a teacher is one of the easiest ways to relocate and work in Greece. The country is home to numerous foreign schools, including those that follow British or American curricula.
Becoming a journalist and joining a foreign media outlet covering life in Greece is another option. However, it is more challenging to join local media due to the availability of Greek talents.
Greece also faces a shortage of blue-collar workers for roles such as fishing, forest firefighting, and agricultural work. While these jobs may not be highly paid by EU standards, they provide expats from other parts of the world with an opportunity to earn money in relatively comfortable conditions.
It is worth noting that around 30% of Greece’s population is concentrated in Athens, making it the primary source of expat job opportunities in the country.
Work Permit Varieties
In this Mediterranean state, there are two distinct types of work permits: short-term and long-term. Furthermore, within the short-term category, there are two separate subcategories: digital nomads and seasonal workers. Now, let us delve into the specific requirements for each type of permit.
This type of permit is intended for foreign professionals who fall into the following categories:
- Individuals employed by an international company with branches in multiple countries, who have been transferred to the Greek branch.
- Professional athletes.
- Individuals working in the field of art, culture, and entertainment.
- Teachers in non-Greek schools.
- Individuals who have signed a contract with a Greek company facing a shortage of local specialists.
Typically, this permit is valid for two years and can be renewed. With repeated renewals, there may be an opportunity to obtain Greek residency and eventually citizenship. It is advisable to apply for residency only if you plan to permanently reside in Greece.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to temporarily leave Greece after a specific period of time and then return. This requirement applies, for example, to individuals transferred to Greek branches of international companies. Initially, work permits are usually issued for one year and can be renewed for two years. After that, at least six months must be spent outside of Greece before returning, if desired.
This category encompasses various types of permits, each applicable to a specific occupation and valid for a specific duration. For instance, a sports coach is permitted to work in Greece for a maximum of 6 months, while a tour guide can operate for up to 8 months. It is important to verify your qualifications prior to applying for the permit. The short-term work permit is valid for a maximum period of 1 year.
While technically considered short-term work, it is important to note that this category differs from the previous one. The validity of a work permit of this nature extends up to 6 months, but no longer. The professional activities associated with this document are often seasonal in nature, such as assisting farmers with harvesting. In such cases, it may not be necessary to provide proof of your qualifications.
A digital nomad refers to an individual who earns enough income outside of Greece to sustain themselves in the country without seeking employment locally. These professionals have the flexibility to work remotely for organizations registered outside Greece or to offer their services as self-employed individuals to clients abroad. The key requirement is that their income should not come from Greek companies or benefit from local social security systems.
To apply for a digital nomad visa, it is necessary to prepare the following:
- A statement explaining the intention to spend time in Greece without seeking employment locally.
- Proof of sufficient funds earned abroad, with a minimum monthly threshold of €3,500 for the main applicant. This income should be stable and regular.
- Details of professional activities, including agreements or contracts for self-employed individuals, general information about the company and position held for business owners, and service agreements or employment contracts for those working remotely for foreign organizations.
- Family members have the right to apply together with the main applicant. If relocating to Greece with a spouse, an additional 20% of the minimum required monthly income should be added. For underage children accompanying the applicant, 15% should be added for each child. Note that children aged 18 or older cannot be included in the application.
- Digital nomads are permitted to stay in Greece for a maximum of 2 years.
Who Needs a Work Permit for Greece
To work legally in Greece as a non-EU/EEA citizen, obtaining a work permit is necessary. There are two ways to apply for the permit. The first option is to acquire a visa to enter Greece and then proceed with the permit application. Alternatively, you can apply for the permit directly through the Greek consulate or embassy in your home country or another state.
This option allows you to potentially secure the permit in advance, eliminating the need for a separate visa. It’s important to note that requirements vary based on nationality, professional experience, and application location. Consulting a legal expert before submitting your application is highly recommended to ensure compliance.
What Should Professionals from the EU Do
If you are coming to Greece from another EU country, you won’t need any visas or permits to stay for up to 90 days. However, after that period, it is necessary to obtain a registration certificate. Please make sure to prepare the following documents: your passport or ID, four passport-style photos, a filled-in application form, health insurance, a contract from the organization that is hiring you, and proof of accommodation in Greece. Golden Visa Owners Can’t Apply for a Work Permit
Here’s a helpful tip: if you don’t speak fluent Greek, consider bringing a translator or a friend who can assist you. Local officials may not always be proficient in English.
Typically, the process of issuing the certificate takes just a few hours. Once you have this document, you can begin working immediately without any additional paperwork.
However, it’s important to note that if you don’t speak Greek, your employment opportunities may be limited.
Golden Visa Owners Can’t Apply for a Work Permit
Golden Visa offers residency and citizenship to affluent expats who can make substantial investments in various assets. Here are the investment requirements:
- €500,000 in properties located in the capital and popular tourist regions.
- €250,000 in properties located in less popular parts of the country
- €400,000 in local businesses or deposit funds in one of the national banks.
The most straightforward and swiftest investment option is real estate. Moreover, the investor can apply along with up to 9 family members.
Once granted, the Golden Visa remains valid for 5 years and can be renewed. After 7 years of holding this visa, the investor and their family members become eligible to apply for Greek citizenship.
It is important to note that the Golden Visa does not permit employment in Greece. This restriction is based on the underlying assumption that individuals with sufficient wealth do not need to work for a living. Consequently, applying for a work permit is discouraged and likely to be rejected. However, launching a business in Greece is a viable option.
The current economic upswing in the country, accompanied by subsidies available to many new businesses, makes it an opportune time to do so. Additionally, Greece’s strategic location facilitates the export of physical goods to three continents. Furthermore, its developed infrastructure, abundant talent pool, and strong purchasing power make it an attractive market within the European Union.
Greece Visa Homes is your trusted investment advisory firm for Greece Golden Visa. Get personalized guidance from our experienced legal professionals, ensuring a seamless process for real estate and investment funds.
Contact us for inquiries and assistance. We’re here to support you every step of the way!
Step-by-Step Guide on Obtaining Greece Work Permit
In the following sections, we will outline the essential steps for acquiring a Work Permit Greece Non EU Citizens. Generally, individuals relocating from abroad are expected to personally submit all the necessary documents. However, if circumstances prevent you from doing so, it may be worth considering the assistance of a legal professional to act as your representative.
To secure a job in Greece and obtain the necessary visa, it is imperative to sign a contract with an employer. There are a couple of avenues to explore in your job search. You can independently browse through profile websites to find suitable positions. Alternatively, you may choose to leverage the expertise of an employment agency. Both options offer viable paths towards finding employment opportunities in Greece.
To obtain a type D visa from the Greek visa center, consulate, or embassy in your home country, you will need to follow these steps and provide the required documents:Step 3
- Valid passport.
- Recent passport-style photos.
- Contract of employment.
- Medical insurance.
- Proof of a clean legal record.
The processing time may vary depending on the location and the number of applicants. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. Once approved, the visa is generally valid for 12 months.
Upon your arrival in Greece, it is advisable to promptly obtain a tax number and a social security number. The application process for both can be conveniently completed by presenting your passport.
It is now time to apply for a work permit, which is crucial to do within 30 days of your arrival in the country. Please ensure you have the following documents prepared:
- Two passport-sized photos
- Employment contract (including salary details)
- Proof of no previous law violations
- Proof of accommodation in Greece
- Sufficient funds proof
- Medical certificate
Please note that additional documents may be required upon request. The good news is that you won’t need to pay any fees for the permit as your employer will take care of it (at an approximate cost of €300).
Please wait for the authorities to review and approve your application. The processing time will vary depending on your occupation and qualification, with most applicants waiting between six to twelve months. However, executives may experience a faster process, taking as little as one month.
The good news is that you won’t have to wait a whole year to start working. Once your documents are accepted, you will receive a receipt as proof that your application is being processed. Feel free to begin your work while you wait!
Once your work permit is ready, please note that you will not receive a notification. It will be your responsibility to monitor the process online and personally collect the issued document. The permit will be provided in the form of a sticker, which you will need to affix to your passport.
To apply for a work permit, you need to gather the following documents:How to Switch to a New Employer
- Passport with a valid visa.
- Copies of your passport.
- Contract with your employer.
- Two passport-style photos.
- Medical insurance.
- Proof of accommodation in Greece.
- Health certificate.
- Proof of sufficient funds.
- Proof of fee payment.
Please note that this is a general list and the exact requirements may vary depending on your individual circumstances. For example, if you are a professional working for multiple employers, you may not need to submit a contract. This exception may apply to domestic workers or construction workers.
If you are submitting the documents in Greece, they should be translated into Greek. However, if you are applying from a consulate or embassy in your home country, English documents may be accepted. The specific requirements and fees may vary depending on the country from which you are applying.
Additionally, it is important to find out if electronic signatures are accepted or if it is mandatory to sign the documents manually with ink. Some documents may need to be notarized or apostilled. Be aware of the validity period for each document, as some may need to be collected no later than one month before the application. Lastly, you may be required to bring photocopies of all the submitted papers with you.
Ensure that you are well-prepared and informed about the specific requirements and procedures for your work permit application.
How to Switch to a New Employer
Some expatriates believe they can sign a contract with a specific employer, obtain their work permit, arrive in Greece, and then start seeking better job opportunities with improved conditions. However, this approach would be a mistake! Those who follow such a path risk jeopardizing their work permits.
If you find yourself unsatisfied with your current Greek employer or if they no longer require your services for the originally agreed-upon duration, it is advisable to adhere to the following scheme:
- Fulfill your obligations to your initial Greek employer precisely as stipulated in your contract.
- A few months or weeks before your initial contract expires, begin searching for another local employer. However, it is recommended to refrain from signing a contract with them immediately.
- Once your initial contract concludes, proceed to sign a new contract with your new employer and renew your work permit.
It is not unlawful to search for a new job while still employed by the company that initially hired you. The only potential issue for expatriates arises from breaching the terms of their contracts.
Please note: If you wish to not only change employers but also transition to a different sector of work, you will be required to gather additional documentation to validate your qualifications.
You have the right to renew your work permit if your Greek employer wishes to retain your services or if you find another organization interested in hiring you. It is recommended to apply for renewal approximately 2 months prior to the expiration date of your current permit. Applying later may still be possible, but could result in a fine of around €50.
The list of required documents typically includes:
- Passport and copies of all pages
- Completed application form
- Work permit
- Employment contract
Additional documents may be necessary depending on the nature of your activities. If your initial permit was valid for 2 years, the renewed version is likely to be valid for approximately 3 years, but not longer.
It is important to avoid overstaying in Greece after your permit or visa has expired, as this would be considered a violation of the law and may negatively impact your ability to obtain future visas or permits. The proper course of action is to leave the country before the expiration date of your current document and secure a new visa or permit while staying outside of the EU.
Read next our detailed guide on how to Emigrate to Greece.