Information for people who want to move to Greece

greece move to greeceIf you decide to move to Greece, either to retire there after a lifetime of work, or to go there to begin a new life, you should consider how you will spend the whole year, both in summer and winter.

A life without any work in it may begin to pall even in the most perfect setting. Personal projects, charity work, courses, hobbies, a paid job for even 1 or 2 days per week can make a big difference. Visit the Greek Tourist Board website for useful information:

When you are looking for work, it is important to get to know as many people as possible, especially related to the type of work you are looking for. To work on an official basis, you will need to apply to the police station for a residence permit and pass the relevant bureaucratic procedures to get a work permit.

A good employer will help you through this process. If you are starting your own business in Greece bring as much paperwork from your home country as possible especially previous tax declarations, diplomas and so on. As happens in any country, to work unofficially, you are very much at the mercy of whoever is employing and paying you.

Opportunities to contribute something to your new country exist in the tourist industry who would welcome anyone with the right experience. .Indeed, in some areas, much of the work is tourist related which means that if there is a bad season it is very difficult to find work. Furthermore, you have to work for two seasons to have enough IKA (like our National Insurance) stamps in order to claim winter unemployment benefit. Additionally, anyone who brings capital and management skills would, on the whole, have an advantage .

Generally, it is true to say, that Greeks are not so keen on paperwork. So anyone with strong organisational skills can be useful. Another possibility is in voluntary and environmental work, especially with World Wildlife Fund. In terms of local jobs, high quality villa housekeeping, cleaning, nursing, childcare, pool maintenance, gardening work, tourism, property/marketing slots are all possibilities, although not always advertised and there is no big campaign to attract non-Greek workers.


The best area for jobs, however, is teaching English or other languages but you will need to be a graduate. A TEFL or TESL qualification is also an advantage and there are good on-line courses that offer this qualification. For example see Graduate nurses, too, stand a better chance for work than non-graduates but in all cases, it is a good idea to write to your own professional bodies in the UK, explaining your intention to move to Greece because they may have useful networks that can assist and advise you.

If you are setting up an international business, or intending to work from home on computer-related projects, then you should check e-mail connections, ISDN, postal services and computer support in the locality that you are considering buying in.
It is important to remember that Greece does have an unemployment problem – around 10%. But even if you have been receiving unemployment benefit in the UK you may still be able to claim for up to 3 months in Greece. You are also allowed to take casual work for up to 3 months before you need full documentation.

Tax is payable by everyone over the age of 25, whether your income is from in or outside Greece. The British self-assessment model is currently being worked into a Greek plan.
All European citizens are entitled to reciprocal health care in Greece but you need to provide documents from your home country and obtain medical records from IKA (Idrina Kinonikon Asfalisseon). They have regional offices and branches known as Parartimata.

You should visit only doctors and dentists registered under this scheme. Some insurers operate a Europe wide private Health Scheme – Norwich Union in the UK is one. 

If you want to have a good time living in Greece, be prepared to learn to love the things Greeks love: learning the language of villagers, cooking for your neighbours (usually at short notice), working on tapestries/playing with worry beads in your spare hours, helping out with the olive picking during the harvest season and maybe keeping your ears and eyes open for useful gossip about town and being prepared to relay it discreetly to any concerned parties… As they say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Well, who do you think taught the Romans everything they know?