Working in Greece?
Working in Greece
At a Glance:
Tourism accounts for one fifth of the Greek economy, which is mostly based on the services sector.
There has been a hike in tax rates in Greece over the past four years
Greeks express themselves in a very emotional way, even in business situations. So don’t forget to read up on local business culture.
Over the past few years, Greece has been making headlines with its financial crisis. Tough and unpopular austerity measures have been implemented by the government, and the economy seems to be going slowly back on track. However, the unemployment rate is still extremely high at 24%.
So why is working in Greece still a viable option for expats? Actually, the Greek government is specifically targeting expats, especially investors and entrepreneurs willing to invest their capital in Greece’s economy. See the Moving to Greece article for more information on the financial crisis, and on expat opportunities in Greece.
Major Economic Sectors in Greece
Greece’s economy, along with that of many other developed countries, is becoming increasingly involved in the service sector, which represents an estimated 82.8% of Greece’s GDP. Greece is a major tourist destination, and projections for 2016 report 28 million international visitors will arrive in Greece this year, making tourism one of the main contributors to the service industry. Tourism accounts for about 18% of Greece’s GDP and employs one-fifth of the people working in Greece. However, although this industry is very much seasonal, measures, such as developing multilingual websites to promote the Greek experience, are being taken to develop it into a year-round affair.
The primary and secondary sectors account for a much smaller proportion of the GDP, amounting to 3.9% and 13.3%, respectively. Around 13% of the people working in Greece have jobs in the agricultural sector, which includes the large portion involved in the fishing industry. Sea aquaculture contributes an increasing amount to the nation’s annual GDP. The remaining people working in Greece are employed in the shipping industry or in the industrial sector, which is dominated by the textile and chemical industries as well as the manufacturing of metal products.
Finding a Job in Greece
The job market is currently in a bad state, and finding a job remains very difficult. Even though the economy is getting better, expats were also among the numerous people who lost their jobs. There were also news reports of expats leaving the country because of the ongoing crisis. Non-working expats with an income source independent from the Greek economy — especially retirees — are still advised to keep their savings in an international bank account and draw their regular income from outside of Greece.
If you do want to give working in Greece a try, though, the Greek government’s Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) issues an annual of regions and professional fields which have a lack of suitable candidates from Greece or the rest of the EU. You can search for employment openings in Greece through many channels, including online vacancy search engines, newspaper classified ads, and recruiting agencies.
Here is a selection of useful websites:
Alternatively, you can register your professional qualifications with an OAED job center, so that potential employers can find you. You can find out more about working in Greece on the OAED website.
Taxpayer Identification Number
After finding a job and relocating to Greece, you should then apply for a taxpayer identification number (AΦΜ, short for Αριθμός Φορολογικού Μητρώου), as you need this number to complete many other daily transactions in Greece such as opening a bank account and setting up your utilities.
You need to apply for your identification number at your local tax office. In addition to filling out Form M1, you also need to bring your passport. You should check with your local tax office to see if additional documents are required, such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate or visa.
Individual Taxes in Greece
Anyone who is in Greece for more than 183 days a year is subject to Greek income tax. Also, expatriates are only taxed on their income from Greek sources. Greece is currently cracking down on evaders, so if you’re working in Greece, it is important to submit your tax return on time by 30 June of each year. Tax laws passed in 2012, valid for all revenue earned as of 1 January, 2013, raised the rates, lowered the thresholds and limited deductions. They also decreased the number of tax brackets from eight to three. Earnings of up to 25,000 EUR are currently taxed at a rate of 22%. For those earning between 25,001 EUR and 42,000 EUR the rate is 32%, and anyone whose earnings exceed 42,000 EUR is taxed at 42%.
For freelancers and sole proprietors, their business income is taxed at a rate of 26% below 50,000 EUR, and a rate of 33% above 50,000 EUR of annual earnings.
Please note that due to the current crisis, new laws are frequently being implemented for those working in Greece. Please consult a tax advisor or the Ministry of Finance website for current and up-to-date information. In fact, in February 2016 the Minister of Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, proposed to raise the personal income tax rate to 50% instead of 42%. So far, however, the proposition has not been voted into law.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.