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Working in Greece and the Law

Greece has continuously changed their laws on residency and work permits for foreigners since 2006. For those wanting to work in Greece, a work permit is not required if the applicant is from another E.U. country however; a residency permit is needed to work in Greece.

Since the residency laws in Greece have started to change in the past few years, a minimum of 11 types of residency permits have been introduced. These refer to the different purposes for residency in Greece, for example: educational purposes, religious groups and leaders, tour groups and leaders, researchers, athletes, self-employment, seasonal work, salaried employment and various others.

Work visas and permits are not required for E.U citizens, but it is important to register at the local police station within the first 8 days of your arrival in Greece. If the foreigner is planning on staying longer than 3 months in Greece, then he or she will need to apply for a residency permit, but generally this is enough for E.U. citizens to work in Greece. A permit for residency can also be acquired at the police station. Expats should also register themselves with the IKA (Idrima Kinonikon Asfalisseon), which is the local social security. Those who haven't registered with IKA may have serious problems when applying for work. Although some employers prefer the employee not to have IKA registration, this is only for the benefit of the employer, as the employer must pay a small monthly fee per IKA registered employee. Employees who are found not to be IKA registered may be sanctioned with fines, legal battles and sometimes even job loss.

Anybody coming to Greece for longer than 3 months from an E.U. or non-E.U. country will require a residency permit for long-term stay. Many of these residency permits expire after 5 years. Anyone that has obtained a residency permit in Greece for 5 years then has the right to apply for permanent residency. Residency cards are also needed for E.U. or non-E.U. members that want to purchase either a house or car in Greece. To apply for a residency permit, the applicant will need to be able to produce:

 4 ID photo's
 a valid passport
 a bank slip
 a letter/proof of employment from a previous or current employer

A Greek work permit can only be issued in Greece from the Greek consulate. For E.U. members, a work permit is not needed, as a valid E.U. passport is enough to enter Greece and stay for a maximum of 3 months(90 days)  before a residency card is needed. Various forms or contracts maybe needed to be completed, if the job position is permanent. Some temporary or seasonal positions do not require such forms and documents. However non-E.U. members need to apply at the local embassy for a work permit. If the work contract is temporary, the work permit will be valid for the required amount of time. It is law that a medical test, to certify that the person is free from contagious infections and diseases, should be taken for those wanting to apply for a 5 year residency visa or to work in the food industry.

Common work sectors for expats include English teaching and working in tourism. Tourism is seasonal and runs for no more than six months of the year, which is why many find other work throughout the year, such as English language teaching where often formal qualifications are not needed.

Applying for a work permit in Greece is a lot easier for those being transferred within a company. The company will provide the relevant documents and information required and therefore minimizes the work for the employee.

Working restrictions in Greece are quite strict and states that any working week must not exceed 48 hours. If such case occurs, when a working day goes beyond the average 8 hours, it must be proven that it is a result of a previous or future shortened working day. This law does include some exceptions, but generally a working day is 8 hours and a working week should not exceed 48 hours.

Citizens outside of E.U. countries must apply for a work permit and a residency permit, both of which can be denied. The person must contact their future employer to request authorization to have a non-E.U. citizen working for them. The employer  will request permission from the Ministry of Labor in Greece,  where they will decide on whether it is relevant or not that the applicant is suitable for the job.

The Greek Tax system law states that anybody working and living in Greece must pay the sufficient amount of tax. The tax bill depends on an annual salary, for those who are employed by firms; their tax is deducted each month by their employer. Employees are informed of how much tax they have paid in May or June each year. Self-employed workers are taxed depending on their previous year’s income and must pay their monthly tax bill by the 15th of each month.