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Working in Greece

If you would like to work in Greece, there are a few things you should know. People's experiences as foreign workers here are varied: some had a great time making lots of money, others worked day and night and ended up not even getting paid. In order to protect yourself from the latter example, you should make sure you know your rights and what laws apply in your case.


If you come from a country member of the European Community you shouldn't have any problems working in Greece. Many people just work all through the season without any kinds of permits or registrations. This is not completely legal, though, since the proper procedure is to register with the local police eight days within your arrival. After that you have up to three months to work or spend time in the country. If you intend to work serving drinks or food you will be required to get a "health-book" which is a document you acquire through a medical exam. The main concern for the Greek authorities is to make sure you do not have TBC or Hepatitis.

In case you intend to stay for more than three months you need a residence permit. You can get a six month temporary permit with the local police. They will need two passport photographs and your passport to register you. If you decide to stay longer than that, the next permit covers a five year period, and for this you will usually be asked to do a medical exam, which basically is the same one as described above


It is a little bit trickier to get a work permit for a person from countries outside the European Community. You will need to contact the Greek embassy in your own country to get the proper information.


A very common problem in Greece, whether you are a foreigner or Greek, is getting paid. It is a very unfortunate fact that many people have ended up working for nothing. One way to protect yourself is to ask your employer to pay you on a daily or weekly basis. This is a way to at least not lose more than a weeks pay, which is bad enough, but not a major catastrophe. All employers are also obliged by law to pay your social security called IKA in Greek. Few like to pay it though, since they have to pay a serious amount of money per month per employee. They will also have to give you a Christmas and Easter bonus equivalent to the time you've worked for them. For example, if you work full time for a whole year, your bonus at Christmas and Easter will be a whole months pay on each occasion. If you decide to agree not to get IKA it will be at your own risk, since you then will be an illegal worker. If the IKA people catch you working uncovered, they might threaten to pursue legal action against you, but more probable is that they will give your employer a huge fine, which in turn might mean you losing your job.

Being registered with IKA also protects you from not getting paid. Even if you are not registered, any stingy employer will tremble if you threaten to go to IKA. And last, but definitely not least, IKA is your social security - if anything happens to you and you do not have a private insurance, you will have to pay for your medical expenses out of your own pockets.


Most holiday resorts need workers for the season. A lot of people just pack a bag, make sure they have somewhere to stay for a week or two, and then go out looking for a job when they've arrived. This is probably the best way to go about it, since you get a chance to meet your boss before you agree on anything.
Most employment offices in your own country also have a special department for working abroad.
Some Greek business put ads in foreign newspapers in order to find workers, but that is probably the most risky way to find work, since you neither will meet your boss before you leave, nor see the place you will be working at.
In general, it is good to ask other foreign workers where to go. They often know what's going on, and they can probably give you some good advice on where to look and who to avoid.

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