Working in Greece

Working in Greece isn’t as easy as it used to be. While other markets in the Eurozone seem to be recovering, the country is still dealing with the effects of the global recession and the Greek debt crisis. The austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of the bailouts and debt cuts it received in 2010 and 2012 have resulted in increased taxes, lower government spending and, in short, a shrinking economy.

Greece’s biggest industries are traditionally within the service sector, which employs the majority of people and contributes the most to the country’s GDP. Industries such as food and tobacco processing, textiles and chemicals also make a significant contribution to the Greek economy. These have all suffered as a result of Greece's economic problems.

The one glimmer of hope is Greece’s tourism industry, which has seen more tourists flocking to visit the marble statues and monuments of Ancient Greece, as well as holiday islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. However, this is largely seasonal despite the government's trying to increase tourism throughout the rest of the year. 

Expat jobs in Greece

Expats who want to stay and work in Greece need the relevant visa to enter the country, which is applied for before leaving. As soon as possible after arriving in Greece, applying for a residence permit is recommended for expats wanting to stay longer than the duration of their visa, while working in Greece.

In the current climate, it seems that most expats with regular employment are teaching English in Greece. This requires a bachelor’s degree and may require a TEFL qualification. Working as a private tutor is an option but doesn’t guarantee a regular income. Owing to the extra costs and paperwork involved with hiring non-EU citizens, most schools tend to hire employees from within the European Union.

Another option for expats, who are often single and don’t place a lot of importance on stability, is working in the tourism industry. This is only feasible during certain times of the year and, as a result, many people find themselves out of work for much of the year. Many of these people end up doing illegal work for bars and restaurants without the necessary documentation. This is not recommended since the consequences can be severe and the employee can be easily exploited. 

Foreign workers in Greece

As a result of increasing unemployment and poverty, foreign workers are not as well received as they once were. The majority of Greek companies are unlikely to hire somebody for a job which a local can do, partly because it involves paperwork, and partly for patriotic reasons. That said, there are some expat workers in the business and finance sectors who usually occupy senior positions. Unfortunately, negative sentiment against immigrants has been growing in recent years and is largely aimed at people from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

Zografia Avgerou

Zografia is a self-employed craftswoman living in Thessaloniki. A Greek native, she has experienced the effects of the Greek debt crisis first hand. She specialises in jewellery, home decoration, recycling objects and fashion.

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