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What do I need before leaving?

EL GREECE

Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to work as an employed worker in Greece? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfill and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.



To work in Greece as an employed worker, you need:

  • a national visa for employment;
  • a residence permit for employment.

According to the new Migration Code, Greece implements a system of volumes of admission of non-EU nationals for the purposes of dependent/salaried employment, which are included in a joint ministerial decision issued every two years setting the maximum number of jobs for salaried employment by region and specialty jobs. For this decision to be issued, the opinions of competent bodies (Economic and Social Council of Greece, Greek Manpower Employment Organisation, the Regions of the country), with regard to the current employment needs in the Greek territory, are taken into consideration. These needs are defined mainly according to the following criteria: consultation between the regional authorities and employer agencies, the interest of national economy, the feasibility of the employment, the labour offer by Greek nationals, citizens of the European Union or legally residing in Greece non-EU nationals per specialty and the percentages of unemployment per section of employment.

On the basis of this maximum number, employers who wish to employ salaried staff should apply to the Decentralized Administration of their place of residence, submitting also i) a valid work contract of at least one year, where it is clearly mentioned that the monthly remuneration of the person to be employed will amount to at least that of an unskilled worker and ii) a tax certificate where it is evidenced that the employer can actually pay this remuneration. The Secretary General of the Decentralized Administration can only approve the employment of non-EU citizens by the specific employee, if the specialization in question is included in the aforementioned joint ministerial decision and the number allowed has not been covered already. This approval is being sent to the consular authority where the employees concerned are informed to present themselves in order to sign the employment contract and receive their visa to enter the country.


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Where and how to apply

Visa

You must apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate in your country of origin. [see Invitation Procedure above in “Conditions”]

Residence permit

Upon arrival, and before your visa expires, you must apply for a residence permit as an employed worker. All applications for residence permits are submitted at the one-stop-shops of the Decentralized Administration. When you apply, and if all the necessary documents are submitted, you are issued a certificate which is valid for one year and during its validity you reside legally in the country. If your application is still pending after one year, a new certificate will be issued and you will be informed on the reasons of the delay.

The competent Department of the Decentralized Administration examines your application and issues a residence permit valid for two years.

Documents required

To apply for a visa, you need a number of documents (such as your passport, a signed copy of the employment contract, and a copy of your criminal record) that are set in a Decision by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Because of the new Code for Migration and Social Integration (Law 4251/2014), also an approval decision on the employment of the non-EU citizen by a specific employee issued by the Decentralized Admisistration is required for the issuance of the requisite visa. .

To apply for an initial residence permit, you need:

  • a copy of your passport and visa;
  • photographs;
  • a fee of €300;
  • your employment contract; and
  • a certificate that you have applied to the relevant insurance agency for full health insurance.
Duration of validity of permits Residence permits to work as an employed worker are valid for two years and can be renewed for three years. Applications for renewal should be submitted two months before the permit expires. Late applications for the renewal of residence permits may be submitted up to one month after the expiry; in such case, the non-EU citizen is subject to a fine of € 50. Applications for renewal of residence permits for employed workers are submitted to the Decentralized Administration of the applicant’s place of residence, accompanied by all supporting documents and the set fee.
Appeals Appeals against reasoned decisions may be lodged to the administrative court, as well as to the administrative authority that originally issued the decision.
Further information N/A


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Non-EU citizens legally residing in the country enjoy the following rights:

  • Free movement and settlement across the country. Their residence or establishment may be prohibited, for reasons of public interest, in certain geographic areas of the country.
  • Access to social security organizations and insurance rights.
  • Access to social protection.
  • The validity of residence permits is not affected by temporary absence from the country of maximum of six months per year, or other absence for a specific reason such as military service, pregnancy, health issues, or professional training.
  • In case of minors, access to compulsory education.
  • Recognition of primary and secondary education acquired in the home country, according to decision by the Ministry of Education.
  • Access to universities provided they have attended high school in Greece.
  • Exercise of any professional activity, provided all requirements of the law are met, without submitting a reciprocity certificate.
  • Non-EU citizens who are detained receive, as soon as they are detained, information regarding their rights and obligations, as well as services they can access. This information is provided in in a language they can understand. The communication is facilitated by consular or diplomatic members of staff of their state of citizenship or origin, as well as through authorized lawyers.
  • Actions that cause or provoke acts of discrimination, hatred or violence, or constitute an insult against persons on the grounds of their ethnic or national origin, religion or other beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation, is automatically prosecuted.

Unemployment

Non-EU citizens legally residing in Greece are insured at competent social security organizations and enjoy the same social security rights as Greeks.

To renew your residence permit, no employment contract is necessary, but you need to have fulfilled your tax obligations, to have a minimum number of wages at the relevant insurance organization and to have a valid health insurance certificate.

Change of employment

You can sign an employment contract with another employer during the validity of the initial residence permit under the condition that this does not affect the professional specialization for which this permit was issued or the social security organization in which you are insured.

You can work in another Regional unit one year after the issuance of the initial residence permit. This is also the case for change of professional specialization withing the dependent employment status.

Long-term residence

Long-term resident permit

If you have resided in Greece lawfully and continuously for five years before submitting your application, you can apply for a long-term resident permit provided that:

  • you have your own income for the sustenance of your family, which cannot be lower than the annual minimum wage, increased by 10% for all dependent members of your family, including any unemployment benefit received. The contributions of the family members are taken into consideration for the calculation of the income;
  • you have full social security for yourself and the members of your family;
  • you fulfill the requirements for integration into Greek society, that is, you have:
    • evidence of adequate knowledge of the Greek language and elements of Greek history and culture, as defined in national legislation; or
    • a residence Card as member of the family of a Greek citizen; or
    • a positive opinion by a Citizenship Committee; or
    • you have legally resided in Greece for twelve years.

You will still be able to apply for this status if you have been absent from Greece for less than six consecutive months and/or 10 months during this five-year period.

You must submit your application to the authority that issued your last/previous residence permit, and meet all necessary conditions. The decision should be issued within six months, which can be delayed for an additional three month period.

The long-term resident permit is valid for five years and is renewable for five years.

A long-term resident enjoys equal treatment with Greek citizens in the following:

  • access to salaried employment and non salaried work, terms of employment, remuneration and dismissal;
  • access to education and professional training;
  • recognition of vocational degrees, certificates and other documents;
  • social security and basic social protection;
  • tax relief;
  • access to public goods and services housing procedures;
  • free movement and settlement in the territory.


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Competent Authorities

Diplomatic missions abroad

Municipality of the place of residence

Secretary General of the competent decentralised administration

Ministry of Interior, Decentralisation and e-Government

 


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