Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Common jobs for Americans & other foreigners in Greece: Myth vs. reality

jobs in Greece

Looking for a job in Greece?

If you are an expat or foreigner who has never worked in Greece before, it is essential to read this article to learn the difference between myth and reality about jobs in Greece.

All Americans, Canadians, Australians and other non-EU citizens should first read, “How Americans and other non-EU citizens can get a permit to live and work in Greece” and its ‘Comments.’ Why? Because there is little point looking for a job — even as a freelancer — if you can’t get a visa and residence/work permit to work in Greece, and it’s vital to understand how to get one. The only way around this is by having dual citizenship with an EU country. See “Acquiring EU citizenship through ancestry or naturalization.”

English-speaking persons should also take note that English is not in demand, as the majority of Greeks and EU citizens speak it as a second language. See, “The importance of speaking Greek in Greece.”

Greece has seen a mass exodus of its best and brightest since 2009 and has no reason to import workers, with unemployment at a record 27.8 percent — the highest in the EU — and 64.9 percent amongst people aged 15-24. There are plenty of English-speaking candidates available to work without an employer having to deal with burdensome bureaucracy and fees.

There is less work, as companies shut down or leave and educated professionals (and their income) go elsewhere.
— An Adecco survey found that 49 percent of Greeks of working age are actively seeking jobs abroad.
— Coca-Cola Hellenic and FAGE — Greece’s two biggest companies — are moving to Luxembourg and Switzerland; and multinational companies such as Citibank, Kimberly-Clark, Merck and Alcoa are withdrawing en masse from southern Europe due flat spending and continued recession (it’s not over).

Use the first-hand wisdom and experience offered in this article to prepare yourself for possible challenges by knowing what they are, rejoice that you somehow faced none in your successful quest for employment, or seriously consider other options.

*Article last updated January 2, 2015

How jobs in Greece are advertised

Advertising jobs in Greece for a specific nationality is against the law, much as it is in your homeland. Therefore, there is no such thing as jobs for Americans in Greece or jobs in Greece for foreigners, just as there is no such thing as jobs for Greeks in America or jobs for Canadians in Australia. A more appropriate search would be “jobs in Greece.”

Top 10

These are the ideas and suggestions of local Greeks and friends and family back home for English-speaking newcomers seeking a job in Greece, along with my findings based on current laws and first-hand experience of dozens of EU and non-EU citizens.

They haven’t changed much since I arrived 15 years ago, except that enforcement of the law is stricter and discrimination against non-Greeks is 10-fold since the crisis started.

1. Get a job at an embassy

Nearly everyone makes this suggestion, but no one has a clue about what it actually takes to work at an embassy. Being a citizen is not enough, and it is not easy. In short, these jobs are for the few and elite. See, “Getting a job at an American Embassy.”

Embassies in Greece and Greek consulates in the United States and most developed countries (Europe, Australia, Canada) do not have non-embassy/non-consular job listings. Amendments to law 2910 in 2005 transformed a few dozen Greek consulates and embassies into job centers, but these listings are primarily of the dirty, difficult and dangerous kind and advertised in eastern European and Balkan countries. See the article, “The jobs Greeks won’t take.

2. Work for an American or other non-EU/EU company in Greece

Most EU and American multinational companies operating in Greece are local, privately owned Greek franchises, not direct subsidiaries or branches operated and managed by the parent company, although the Greek website might be a mirror of the main site. The clientele is Greek, the work environment is Greek, labor laws are Greek, salaries follow the Greek standard, and your bosses will likely be Greek.

If you’re interested in finding a position with an American, EU or other corporation in Greece or anywhere abroad, it may be necessary to search the privately owned overseas franchise since the parent company will often not be affiliated.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not easier to get a job or an advantage to be American when looking for a job at an American company abroad because local companies want candidates who already have authorization to work in the EU, have command of the local language and knowledge of local working culture. Why? Because companies in Greece — American, British, French, Spanish or otherwise — are trying to capture the local Greek market. To see an example of a job listing by an American company in Athens, see “Procter & Gamble Recruitment in Greece.”

As a non-EU citizen, you compete with everyone else on the job market. There aren’t separate listings for Greeks and separate listings for everyone else, nor have I ever seen an ad for “Companies in Greece willing to sponsor a work permit.”

Also be aware that the Greek or overseas branch may not be named the same thing and are subject to closure or relocation to another country because of the economic crisis. For example, Alpha Copy S.A. is the Greek version of Nokia and shut down permanently at the end of 2012.

EU, American and other non-EU companies are not as prominent in Greece, in comparison to other EU countries, China or India. Even home-grown Greek companies, such as FAGE and Coca-Cola Hellenic, have moved to countries where there is less red tape, lower taxes, reduced corruption, cheaper labor, enforcement of fair business laws and a growing market. See, “Who really steals jobs from Greeks?” A great number of investors in Greece have also withdrawn since the recession and/or are moving to Romania and Bulgaria, where authorities are friendlier and the cost of doing business is cheaper. See, “Greece: Missing the investment train.”

TEFL Greece

3. Teach English

Many language schools advertise for qualified and experienced ELT/TEFL teachers, often classifying CVs with no certifications and/or experience as “a waste of time and paper.”

By law, non-Greek citizens must pass an exam proving they have proficiency in the Greek language and knowledge of Greek history to acquire an ELT certificate to teach English, although the EU may change this in the future. TEFL teachers do not. There are also quotas in place that state a frontistirio (language school) can only hire one foreigner for every five Greek citizens, and even stricter quotas for non-EU citizens such as Australians, Americans and Canadians.

If you have a master’s degree and some teaching experience, an employer may look past not having certification, though this is not guaranteed since there are lawful requirements that cannot be bypassed. See the ministry’s official page for “Granting certification for teaching foreign language.”

Recruitment for Fall starts as early as February. Ads that advertise for British accents or UK citizens indicate that the school is unwilling to sponsor a work visa and residence/work permit for non-EU citizens. There are schools that prefer American accents, though this is sometimes followed by “current authorization to work in Greece.”

Greece has a reputation amongst TEFL, TESOL and ELT professionals as being the toughest EU country for non-EU citizens to get a permit and work legally. So-called institutions that (supposedly) offer career placement after taking their courses know this but are happy to take your money and leave you to sort out a work permit and job on your own. The reality is there are many employers who would rather hire one of thousands of Greek citizens speaking mediocre English than a non-Greek who speaks perfect English. Don’t believe me? Read about an American who gave up her life in the United States and enrolled in a course in Greece, only to find out the hard way it’s not so easy “Teaching English in Greece.”

Those interested in teaching English remotely may have a difficult time finding students, since the majority of Greeks still prefer in-person tutoring. The majority distrust online transactions and less than half of households have regular Internet access, which is the third lowest rate of 28 EU member states.

4. Tutor businessmen or students of English

Popular books on the subject of tutoring English students recommend placing ads, but many of us know first-hand that this is a bad idea in Greece. Most people who answer are either men/boys trying to meet foreign girls/women, or students that aren’t serious about their studies, and you usually don’t find out until after all the units on your prepaid phone are gone.

There is also a different standard of courtesy, with prospective students often not showing up for appointments without first canceling, or canceling at the last moment without respect for your time or money. For example, a businessman may call five minutes before a lesson to cancel, which is too late because you already spent time and money on transport for which you won’t be reimbursed or have the opportunity to tutor someone else.

Many people who offer tutoring have been doing it for years and/or are teachers at an established school. This is a more solid way to make contacts and help you determine if you’d like to take students as clients based on experience and familiarity. Many families have also cut back on spending because they are affected by austerity or expect to be, so tutors who still have work must lower hourly rates and agree to demands they didn’t before.

Athenian Au Pair5. Work as an English-speaking nanny or au pair

If you love children and don’t mind cooking, cleaning and babysitting, this option may be for you.

Some positions ask that you live full-time in the family’s home, some don’t; some request that you be bilingual, while many say native English is just fine; some would like you to accompany them on holiday, but provide only spartan accommodations. Most ask that you work six days a week, and all ask for solid references.

Depending on the position and family, it may be possible to secure a residence/work permit, IKA and a decent salary. Others ask that you are already authorized to work in the EU, or declare yourself as self-employed/freelance at the DOY/eforia/Greek tax office, cut official receipts and pay your own OAEE/TEBE (insurance for independent workers).

Be aware that positions are fewer from 2010, as unemployment climbs higher and jobless family members are able to care for children themselves or cannot afford the extra expense.

6. Be an overseas representative for an American or other non-EU parent company back home

If you have been working for a company back home for a number of years, and have fluency in Greek and knowledge about the working culture of the country, you may prove to be the top candidate when a vacancy arises and then transferred. You would then enter the country with a work visa, which would then lead to a residence/work permit.

Having a local representative and paying local wages is more common than employing a traveling rep with salary reflective of those back home, since companies are keen to cut costs. It’s also good business sense. Your salary will be scaled to a local standard but at least you’ll be legally employed in Greece.

The other option that may not require knowledge of Greek or local working culture is to be stationed in a country nearby, such as Turkey or Italy, and be temporarily or permanently assigned to Greece. This option often requires you have authorization to work in an EU country.

Freelance writer Greece

7. Do freelance work or be a consultant

Being a legal freelance worker or consultant — translator, IT worker, Internet businessman, writer/reporter, photographer, DJ, animal care, health care provider, domestic worker, trainer, graphic designer, repairman, etc. — requires that you open a self-employed status or business. See, “How to start a new business in Greece.”

After that, you have the choice of paying an accountant to keep your books for a monthly fee or learn how to maintain your own tax register, issue receipts, pay VAT/FPA and file quarterly tax forms that are required even if you earn nothing.

Getting vendors and clients to pay has always been a challenge but is even harder during recession, sometimes requiring you to call or visit the office several times over many months. Sometimes you never get paid, and bringing a lawsuit is a lengthy (several years) and costly ordeal that most do not pursue, and vendors who don’t pay their bills and dare you to sue are aware of this.

Domestic workers, farm workers and nurses have the same independent status, but usually have IKA and salaries paid amongst several employers.

Note that a residence/work permit can still be revoked if it is determined that you are not qualified to perform this type of work, with authorities needing proof via translated documents, official recognition of university degrees and evidence of experience. In many cases, nothing less than the possession of ensima (social insurance in Greece) in your field is the only official and acceptable proof of work experience, and denial or revocation of your permit can happen at any time.

8. Start your own business, such as a store that sells American, Asian and/or other ethnic food and products

This option never used to be easy, but it’s less easy these days with the current legislation in place.

Non-EU citizens must have already been living in Greece with a residence/work permit for one year and draw up a formal business plan in Greek that explains how this business “contributes to the development of the Greek economy”; a deposit of 60,000 euros to 300,000 euros, as evidence of solvency and the ability to meet expenses and unexpected costs. If your plan is approved by the ministry, business can commence. See, “How to start a new business in Greece” for full details of start-up.

In speaking to non-EU entrepreneurs who started ethnic food or specialty food stores, there is a lot of red tape and a small profit margin. In “Record high red tape,” a well-known foreign investor’s Greek team reported that it needed 3,000 signatures and significant capital before it even opened. Greek and EU citizens are not subject to the new rules, and usually do much better.

Tour Bus Athens Greece

9. Tourism

Hotels, hostels and tour operators in Greece normally look for seasonal workers to compensate for the influx of tourists during high season. However, this is far less common since the crisis began, as a record number of businesses shut down and unemployment rose to 27.7 percent.

Larger hotels in big cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, keep a year-round staff so vacancies are rare, and well-known hotel chains almost always ask for a Bachelor’s in Tourism or Hotel Management and previous work experience. Hostels tend to have a revolving door of staff, and once had vacancies in off season (November – March) and demanded fewer qualifications, but competition was great in high season. Privately owned hotels are usually staffed by family members and friends of the family, which is true for both the islands and mainland. In today’s landscape with more than 30 percent of hotels set to close or on the brink of bankruptcy, employers are struggling to stay open.

If you’re wondering why a hotel or hostel in Greece states that it will not give work visas and residence/work permits to an American or other non-EU citizen, see “Summer jobs in Greece FAQ.”

Tour operators recruit both locals and nationals in the country of origin (e.g., a Swedish national was recruited in Stockholm to spend the season on Crete as a hospitality hostess/tour leader serving fellow Swedes visiting the island). The more unique your language skills and proficient your knowledge of certain areas of Greece, the better your chances of being successful. English is in low demand because many bilingual and trilingual Greeks can fill this void.

Job ads usually appear as early as March for the upcoming summer season and filled quickly, though there are a few unfilled (and usually undesirable and low-paid) positions as late as May or June.

Illegal workers Greece

10. Illegal work in Greece

Illegal work is a widespread reality, though less common than 10 years ago since laws have become more strict and fines were increased to discourage employers from hiring undocumented non-Greek workers. Enforcement has also been stepped up considerably, and police conduct sweeps on a daily basis. To get around this, employers now hire unemployed Greek workers off the books and the trend is fueled by record-high unemployment.

The EU border-monitoring agency Frontex opened its first European office in Greece in October 2010 and sent 200 highly trained border guards, as a show of commitment to fighting illegal immigration with local authorities. Greece also has a financial crimes squad (SDOE) as of 2010 and has been making significant headway in punishing employers who break the law.

You’ll never be able to find legal work with an employer if you are or become illegal.

*Note to those searching this site for “illegal work ads.” Employers do not advertise they are engaging in illegal activity unless they want to be fined and visited by police.

If you haven’t read it already, see “How Americans and other non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece” to get a general overview of how visas, residence/work permits and citizenship affect non-EU citizens seeking to live and work in Greece. That article is actually the starting point, not the one you’re reading now — this is the reason it’s #1 on the non-EU list.

Can I find a job in Greece?

Absolutely. I and several of my friends exercised many of the options above with some success, encountering different challenges along the way.

Depends. Greece has been in a recession since 2009 that many say is comparable to post-WWII conditions. Up to 900+ people lose their jobs every day, salaries have been cut 10-35 percent, experienced workers are being fired by companies fighting for survival, thousands of businesses have closed or left Greece, and everyday people are cutting back on food so drastically that supermarkets are in financial trouble.

The demand in Greece is for unskilled, uneducated workers who will accept low paying positions with no insurance and no chance of advancement. There are also employers in Greece who count on the desperation of non-EU citizens who can’t speak Greek and prey on them, which is the reason many job ads run continuously in English-language publications.

The few people I know who work at American or other non-EU (or even EU) companies speak more Greek and serve a predominantly Greek clientele, with little or no touch with the homeland. Why? Because as I stated previously, an EU, American or other non-EU company with a branch in Greece is trying to capture and manage the local Greek market.

To see some examples of real life people working in the capital, see “Examples of jobs and salaries in Athens.”

The importance of speaking Greek

A lot of native English speakers assume that speaking English is enough to secure a legal and professional job in a foreign country, and I would say this is true in some countries with a predominantly English-speaking population. Greece is not one of those countries.

See, “The importance of speaking Greek in Greece” for more details.

Additional tips for your job search

See “Job ads in Greece vs. other countries” to get started. To avoid confusion across nationalities, I don’t use the terms job classifieds or mikres aggelies (little notices), I just refer to them as ads.

There are also a number of links to job listings in the third column of this site. Click anything that interests you.

This article was written for informational purposes, both for you and your friends and family back home who may not understand that Greece operates differently in comparison to your homeland or even other EU countries.

The Author

Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”

  • was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
  • @LivinginGreece is a Twitter feed curated from recognized Greek and international news agencies to provide breaking news about Greece, plus real-time updates and insider tips mined from 15 years experience.

Note: Please note my copyright policy and be aware that violations will be pursued.

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  Natalie wrote @ September 9th, 2011 at 18:08

Hi there,

I am a South African who speaks no Greek but I am desperate to live and work in Greece. I have a Maters Degree in Human Right Law and Sociology and I am current a Business Development Manager at an big advertising agency here. I really don’t know how to go about finding a job in Athens. I have read all of your material but I am still not sure where to look and if the no Greek thing is a problem. I would love to either work for the UN, anything in development, or anything in marketing but I would like to work in English. Do you have any advise for me?

Kind regards,

Kat Reply:

If you read my website, you should know what I’m going to say.

a) Speaking no Greek: You won’t even be able to read job ads if you can’t speak the local language, as explained in “The importance of speaking Greek in Greece.”
b) Experienced not wanted: We’re in our third year of recession and companies are dumping educated, experienced workers to survive, as I say in “Value of a university degree in Greece” and “Should I move to Greece?
c) Local business knowledge: Your background in SA is nice but unfortunately useless. Local companies want local knowledge, as I say above, which you do not have.
d) Competition: There are multilingual, educated youth in Greece looking for work who will accept lower wages than you will.
e) UN, NGOs: Have you ever tried applying with them? It’s highly competitive and difficult to break into. They also require multilingual candidates.
f) Permit: Even in the rare case you find an employer to sponsor you, the Greek government has final say on approving a visa and permit, which I discuss in “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece.” It has no reason to import a worker when it has more than a million already here.

If I were to be cordial, my advice is to try your luck, get on with a company is SA and transfer, use the job links in the third column, or gamble by coming here and try getting an interview as a tourist.

Realistically, my advice is choose another country, be grateful for what you have, or try Greece in about 5 years when it might be out of recession or outside the euro zone.

  Soula wrote @ September 16th, 2011 at 09:55

Hi there,

Thank you for all the info you have provided. Most of the information you have provided though is for Americans. I was wondering if you could help me out in regards to Australian regulations at all?

I’m a Greek Australian so I’m in going to get my citizenship/eu passport hopefully in the next few months and I am wondering if this will help me get work?

I’m going to study primary school teaching and wanted to teach in an international school in Athens but I’m a little confused in regards to what I need. Do I need the IB Diploma? A TEFL course as well as a postgraduate degree (as i already have a undergraduate degree in business)? Will i need to pay tax upon my return to Australia because i read somewhere that we have to pay a tax on the income we earned because Greece is a non-tax paying country or something rather? Do i also need to get my proficiency when i am in greece once or will the TEFL course supplement that? And if so, is the Cambridge proficiency the best one?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I have tried to call heaps of people and none of them can answer my questions – hopefully you can!

Kat Reply:

First off, you’re incorrect. The majority of information provided on this website applies to Greeks, EU citizens and non-EU citizens. Whatever applies to Americans in Greece applies to all non-EU citizens in Greece, including Australians, Canadians, Albanians, South Africans, etc. I do have special insight as an American, and that’s unavoidable because I was born, raised and educated there; and the majority of my multinational audience outside Greece is in the USA. Take a look and see that half of questions are from Greeks everywhere (including you), not Americans.

Second, as an Australian, you should know Australian regulations and have insight (or at least know where to look/inquire) on how they pertain to Greece. You’re basically asking me to know the laws of Australia when I’m not an Australian citizen and have never lived, worked or attended school there. That’s unrealistic.

Third, once you become a Greek citizen and live in Greece, your Australian citizenship is secondary and rules pertaining to non-EU citizens won’t apply to you. Having Greek citizenship helps you skirt the residence/work permit issue; it does not guarantee you’ll find work — ask the millions of unemployed Greeks already here or leaving to find jobs. You can research TEFL and Cambridge via the link given above under ‘Teach English’ or websites dedicated to the subject, plus other rules about teaching in Greece at the Ministry of Education:

Greece is definitely not a non-tax paying country. Greece does have a double taxation treaty with Australia that allows you to pay tax in one country without having to pay tax in the other. The Greek embassy/consulate in Australia could have told you this, assuming you called them, as could the Australian Taxation Office. I found them through a simple Google search

You should get used to helping yourself because once you get to Greece, you’ll find little/no/incorrect assistance, which is why my website was created. I do not provide free consultation for the reasons given in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

Good luck.

  Jennifer wrote @ September 16th, 2011 at 11:09

There is so much information on your website! Thank you for spending the time doing research like this, from what I’ve noticed and being a history major, researching and then writing is not a fun task.

Therefore, To use as little of your time as possible, I’ve been trying to find more information about working as an au pair in Greece. From what I can see it appears to be pretty difficult and depends a great deal on luck. I’ve always dreamed of traveling to Greece, but love getting the culture experience as well (which brought the au pair idea to mind).

I was wondering if you had any more articles talking about short term jobs or work exchange programs. I’ve done some searching and I find more things about permanent jobs and such. In such case, do you have any recommendations, or a current article for such ventures? Like a summer camp position? Or do even though types of jobs apply to the same regulations?

I ask because I am more interested about learning about Greek Culture by being in it, yet since I am a student and don’t have much money I’m also trying to find affordable ways to do this.

Have a wonderful day, and I’ll keep reading the articles as well!

Thank You! 🙂

Kat Reply:

If you don’t have dual citizenship with an EU country, your primary concern should be how you’re going to get a residence/work permit as discussed in the third sentence of this article. Otherwise, you can’t legally work in Greece as anything at anytime. I do not promote working illegally, nor do I provide free consultation above and beyond the 300+ articles on this website for reasons discussed in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

If you have EU citizenship, getting placed as an au pair or finding a family should be fairly easy. There are dedicated au pair websites and even first-hand accounts from au pairs who are working or have worked in Greece on personal blogs. You can find them through a simple Google search.

Being an au pair isn’t the only way you can immerse yourself in Greek culture; and Greek families and residents of Greece are not tour guides. You can do a semester abroad, take work to save money and sign up for a summer program, join a youth group, travel on your own and meet local people, etc.

Good luck.

  Mike D wrote @ December 6th, 2011 at 01:01

This is why the country failed and is a debt crisis b/c it lets no one into there imaginary bubble of a life that the Germans created for them years ago. Now like thieves there is no more money and they cant function like a civilized country. Don’t waste your time hopefully the country will down size and maintain what they are left with. Everything they have done has been falsified. Finances, Nationalities, Government Jobs, Military spending higher then Europe’s biggest countries.

Its a Dictatorship, how can a company grow if doesn’t associate with its parent company. Its joke

Kat Reply:

A branch or subsidiary cannot associate with its parent company because laws governing business and labor are different in each country, and it’s lawfully impossible across borders. The EU is not one country — just as New York’s laws are different than Maryland’s — the world is not homogeneous, and it has nothing to do with dictatorships or civilization.

  julieann wrote @ January 9th, 2012 at 19:14

this month will be the second application i turned into the american embassy. Im a greek american w/ dual citizenship. My greek is excellent and i have been living here since 2005. What a corrupt country , the pay is humiliating and not enough for survival! I pray i get a job at the embassy. . .

  Valerie wrote @ January 25th, 2012 at 23:03

Thank you Kat for a very informative site. I wish you every success for the next few years and hope we can turn the corner financially. I am impressed by your patience at answering some people’s comments ( do they actually read the article through first?)

I find it odd at a time when most of the young people and especially well-qualified ones are leaving to find work in other parts of Europe and further afield, people still want to try to find work here in Greece. The dream is still worth chasing it seems, but unless you have a specific skill or niche that locals cannot fill, then you certainly will have a hard time finding work that pays enough to live on as you point out.

As most young people in Greece live at home, the low low wages are just about bearable if you don’t pay for anything except your travel and entertainments. But now even Greek Bank of Mum and dad is closing down! I know too many people whose children have studied for degrees and have to leave Greece and their home and support network to find work abroad.

Keep up this wonderful site, I occasionally skulk here!

Kat Reply:

I get the feeling that many people don’t read a single word and want the information spoon-fed to them, especially when their question is (literally) answered in the first sentence. However, I was recently chastised for being a rude, impatient b!tch with a sh!tty attitude because I tell people to read the article. Other complaints say that I don’t post often enough, which is true because I’m busy repeating info I already published, never mind that everything I do is voluntary and unpaid. I can’t win.

Everything you say regarding today’s job market and salaries is true. The average family in Greece is under intense pressure, and I don’t know how much more any of us can take.

For the record, I don’t consider you a skulker because you’ve given back to the website by contributing your experience and commenting on occasion. Thousands of people never say a word for years, until the day they’re in trouble and need help.

Thank you for being a long-time reader and taking the time to say hello.

  Mandingo wrote @ April 15th, 2012 at 00:11

I don’t know you, so I can’t tell if you’re a rude, impatient bitch. But you do show a bit of an attitude in your responses to comments, which to me is not great publicity for the idyllic Greek (or non-American, or non-WASP, what have you) way of life.

Kat Reply:

Dreaming of and vacationing in Greece can be idyllic, but living in Greece is far from it unless a member of the super rich. That’s reality. I don’t lie to people. If that’s attitude, so be it.

If you’re looking for PR, visit the Greek National Tourist Organization. They disseminate incorrect information and blindly promote perfection and beauty while riots and strikes are in progress.

P.S. Describing people as, “lady singing with her funny German accent” does not exactly paint you or others in Brazil as enlightened.

  elaina wrote @ May 2nd, 2012 at 19:46

Comment 1:
Hi kat. I have read most of your postings regarding legalities and the “should i of moving to greece”, so i hope that i won’t ask any redundant questions about things you have already responded to, but i would like to see if you have any advice or comments about this job proposition, as i haven’t found alot of helpful info on ESL sites/forums. i found a job advertisement on for a live-in tutor to a Greek family in Ermopoulis.
They offered me an open-ended contract for 6-12 months and a link to their lawyer who is supposed to handle my visa and legal issues. they offered me the position without an interview based on my CV, but have yet to answer my questions as to the specifics of the contract, which makes me unsure. For example the contract only outlined
1)a 6-12 month commitment, which in the employment law document sent to me by the lawyer stated that “the most common type of work contract in greece is full time of indefinite duration.” Is that true? i haven’t found anything on that.
2) that i work mon-fri, with weekends off
3) that i spend a reasonable amount of time preparing for lessons
4) typical termination of contract terms
with the inclusion of medical insurance
I don’t know if they expect me to be a live-in nanny who tutors, or just a tutor, as they haven’t responded yet to my inquiries on the subject. ( i realized there is no way for you to answer those questions, i’m just trying to provide the best understanding of the context here.( i allow that maybe a phone interview may be difficult or impossible due to language barrier)
The lawyer has emailed me a visa application form for a long stay in greece, as well as what appeared to be a cut and paste of an itinerary for a flight at the end of the month, a document outlining employment law and travel instructions quite similar to what i found on your site(except that the document stated that for a residency permit after i obtain a type D visa, i only have to provide 913 euros as a proof of ability to support VIA western union money transfer to the lawyer, which seems questionable) Given that i haven’t gotten answers to my questions, or confirmed my willingness to move by this date is somewhat unsettling.
also i have read that for schools, i need to prove greek profiency, but i haven’t been able to find out if that is required of me in these circumstances working in a private residence.
I’m an american who lives in Tunisia as an ESl instructor and i have residency here, so i also wonder if i need an FBI background check or if i can get one from tunisia (as this is my current residence which is what the information i have found seemed to demand (i live here permanently, my hubby is tunisian.
All that said I get the impression that greece and greeks work alot like tunisia and tunisians. So i am trying to determine what to make of some of these incongruities, and what seems like a casual approach to the position may be due to language barrier, the attitude of what i imagine must be a wealthy family, etc etc.

i understand that this is alot to throw at you, but any help would be greatly appreciated, i haven’t been able to find any info elsewhere. i’ve found the site to be very helpful already, any extra on this particular situation is a bonus. thanks!!!

Comment 2:
thanks for the prompt response…i appreciate your input.

Comment 3:
hey kat, thanks for the prompt response. just a follow-up, i was informed by the greek embassy here in tunis that the documents i was sent by the supposed lawyer were in fact fraudulent. i have posted on the website where i found the job, related to other greek esl employment scams, about the incident. i also provided a link to your site for those interested. thanks again.


Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
Hi there,

It’s not a lot to throw at me. I just don’t have time right now to compile a full response, and you appear to be on a deadline.

I need to say up front that I see four red flags: a) your contract; b) no interview – it’s easy to get a young person in the neighborhood or a translator to interpret if they’re worried about language; c) deposit by Western Union (no, no, no!); d) slow to answer important questions, but quick to provide a flight itinerary.

Many lawyers in Greece know nothing about Greek permits for non-EU citizens, and they use and/or plagiarize my website on a regular basis. Residents use them to look official or important, when in fact they trick and cheat non-Greeks quite often.

Proof of ability to support oneself is only a requirement for persons opting to live in Greece while deriving an income from sources/employers outside Greece. To work here legally, a contract must be sent and approved by the labor ministry to import a worker (proving there isn’t a single EU citizen in Greece to fill the position), then a visa sent to you through the embassy. It’s impossible to do this by the end of the month.

Without knowing who they are or what they’re doing, my impression is they’re securing you a long-term visa to “stay” (something akin to a student status), so you’ll be working illegally, they’ll pay you under the table and you could be fined up to 1200 euros for overstaying your visa, which is separate from penalties for working illegally. Either they don’t know what they’re doing or they know very well and are hoping you don’t find out.

Answer 2 & 3:
Glad I could help. Also a smart move to have the contract examined by the embassy. You deserve credit for using common sense, however tempting it may have been to take a flight and spend the year in Greece.

Not everyone listens, some go to forums to poll strangers until they get the answer they want and others take offense when I tell them the truth. Thank you for asking my opinion, giving a link back and trusting the advice I gave. It’s a pleasure to help people like you.

Wishing you all the best.

  Nick wrote @ September 17th, 2012 at 22:00

Wow, to say the very least, I am so very glad I came across your web site this afternoon! Bravo for the wealth of information you have on your site for individuals just like myself!

I have been to Greece twice now and I just got back from visiting the island where my Grandfather came from for the first time, Leros. It was like heaven there! I still have a lot of family on the island and also a few members in Athens.

I so would like to move to Greece! I am doing my research now and your web site just became a big help! I have an advertising career background, but also being Italian, I have a great deal of knowledge in the construction / carpentry fields.

I am 45 and I have read a number of your postings on this site and I will read more in the coming days. I am also presently live in the metro Detroit, MI area. Thank you for having an honest site and covering both sides, the pluses and minuses. As well, thank you for all your time and effort that goes into this site!

If I have additional questions, I will try my best to follow up w/ you. I wish there was an easier way to contact you, but I completely understand your situation.

Sure hope you have a Great Week!

Kat Reply:

If you don’t already have dual citizenship with the EU, I recommend you stake a claim to facilitate your move; otherwise you’ll need a residence permit. I have instructions on how to do it via your Greek grandfather at, “Greek citizenship via ancestry.”

Just a warning. All the industries you named are in steep decline, so you may not easily find jobs. Age discrimination also applies.

I get thousands of readers a day. Even if only 1 percent contacted me via email, that’s 10 times the number of close friends I’m in contact with daily, and I’m unwilling to devote more time to unpaid activities. It’s quite a lot of work to maintain this website, update the Twitter feed and keep up with never-ending plagiarism.

Thank you for your understanding and kind words. Wishing you all the best.

  Billy the Greek wrote @ November 23rd, 2012 at 01:10

Your comment and questions were moved to, “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece.”

  Grace wrote @ November 27th, 2012 at 18:34

I worked for many years in the Greek islands for small tour companies, this was before the Euro and prices were well below the cost of living in the UK. Now the cost is the same but wages are much lower in Greece, maybe things will change soon?

  Bobbie wrote @ February 24th, 2013 at 13:27

Hi Kat,

Like many others thank you for all the information. I am from the UK and have lived in Thessaloniki Greece for 3 years. I am now unemployed and would like to say to anyone thinking of moving to Greece to live the dream, that it is only a dream.

There are no jobs here, even when jobs are advertised no one ever replies. I have sent my CV to every hotel and nothing has come back, it is hopeless, and I am considering moving back to the UK at risk of losing my relationship (who is greek).

Life here is not easy, I struggle every day to find work. I am lucky to have the support of my partner but as a person I need to work. If anyone is thinking to move here and find work, think again. I do love this country, but it is hard.

Your comments are very honest and reflect life here, and I urge everyone to read your words.

Thanks Bobbie

Kat Reply:

Hi Bobbie,

Thank you apo ti’ kardia mou for your kind words and getting in touch. Many mornings I wake up to hateful comments and redundant questions, and your comment was a breath of fresh air.

A longtime Greek-Canadian reader once said, “Greece is a higher state of mind — an ideal that doesn’t really exist.” He said this with utmost love for Greece but also with knowledge of the country’s problems and negative characteristics of fellow citizens.

In October 2011 there was also a photo depicting a protester with gas mask standing in front of graffiti that said, “Live your Greece in myth.” I believe that accurately describes what most of us feel and experience on a daily basis, knowing that so-called “Better life in Greece” is a dream that can never come true with political elite in power, high prices, low salaries and an economy that doesn’t favor a free market. Leaving appears to be the only option.

But leaving isn’t easy either, as you and I know too well. We have obligations, relocation costs money, language can be a barrier, and relationships are at risk. It’s a difficult choice. Whatever happens, I wish you well and hope to hear from you again. — K

  AP wrote @ March 16th, 2013 at 05:20

Thanks for the informative site!

I’d like to get your informed opinion of my situation and chances of securing employment in Greece (preference is Thessaloniki).

I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. I have 20 years of work experience in the high-tech industry (predominantly Silicon Valley), both with large corporations and with small start-up companies. My command of the Greek language is very basic (though I am studying), but I do speak Italian and hold an Italian passport (in addition to my American passport).

I am strongly considering a move to Greece to advance a relationship to the next level, but I would like to have a sober and truthful understanding of my employability in the country. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions. -Alex

Kat Reply:

Nothing you said changes the facts I stated in the above article or at “Should I move to Greece?” and “The importance of speaking Greek in Greece.”

Dual citizenship with Italy helps you skip the residence/work permit issue, but Greece is not a meritocracy and is decades behind in innovation and technology, so your qualifications have no relevance here. I know this because I’m from the Bay.

The inability to speak, read and write Greek is a huge minus if competing against Greeks amid 27 percent unemployment or starting a business in a climate where grocery stores are in financial trouble because the population has cut back on food so drastically.

Follow news @livingingreece and/or look through its archive.

All best.

  FotisZ wrote @ March 19th, 2013 at 14:28

Hi Kat, this website is unbelievably awesome; bravo! I jut wanted to send you a big ‘Thanks’ and ‘κουράγιο’ with everything you’re doing. No need to reply, just know that your efforts are noticed and appreciated.
G’Day from Sydney, Australia.

Kat Reply:

Hi Fotis,

Thanks so much apo tin kardia mou for taking a moment to offer kind words and encouragement. I know you said there was no need to reply. But of the thousands who use this website daily, very few people express gratitude or give back, and I felt you should be acknowledged as well. All best from Athina!

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