Will you be relocating to Greece as an immigrant soon? This nation has a lot to offer, with its rich cultural past, nice and welcoming population, and over 3000 hours of sunlight every year! However, you must consider the current economic condition, which makes it difficult for permanent workers to obtain work. This page offers our visitors with a complete summary of everything connected to immigration to Greece and will give you an overview of everything related to immigration to Greece.
Quick overview on migration to Greece:
- Greece is now experiencing Europe’s greatest financial and national debt crises since the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Expats are encouraged by the government to acquire property in Greece and engage in the tourist business.
- Every foreigner needs a residency permit. EU nationals, on the other hand, do not need a visa to visit the country and remain for less than three months.
Current Economic status in Greece
In 1981, Greece became a member of the European Communities (EC), the forerunner of the European Union. It became the twelfth member of the European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001, and the euro became the country’s official currency in 2002. From 2003 to 2007, the Greek economy grew at a robust 4 percent annual pace, owing primarily to initiatives completed in preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
The notorious financial crisis started in 2009, when then-Prime Minister George Papandreou declared a 12.7 percent actual budget deficit relative to GDP. The revelation caused financial markets to panic, and Greece’s credit rating began to fall to an all-time low of CCC+. Treasury bonds owned by private creditors were fast losing value, and Greece declared in April 2010 that it could not meet its obligations and asked international aid.
From 2010 through 2014, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union agreed to two billion-euro rescue packages. As a consequence, the Greek debt shifted from the hands of the private market to the hands of the public market, with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union purchasing more than 80% of the debt. Because financial markets were no longer in debt, there was no fear of a worldwide crisis in the event of a Greek default, but creditors have subsequently become the Eurozone’s taxpayers. However, Greece’s condition was not improving: GDP fell from 355 billion euros in 2008 to 235 billion euros in 2015, according to the World Bank, and the government was compelled to undertake austerity measures (more taxes and decreased government expenditure) at the insistence of its creditors.
2015 Crisis, especially the austerity measures affecting the already suffering population – led to a major political and financial crisis in 2015. Indeed, the Greek government, led by the conservative liberal New Democracy party, has demanded a third bailout from the European Union. However, the opposition opposed it, fearing that it would force the Greek people more strongly on their creditors and unpopular austerity measures.
As a result of this political impasse, the Greek parliament was unable to elect a new president: he had to be dissolved and a call for new elections was issued. In January 2015, Syriza won a historic victory, and Tsipras was sworn in as prime minister. After this change of government, EU creditors decided to give four months to repay the loans. Meanwhile, Tsipras requested a referendum on the bailout in June 2015: more than 61% of Greeks voted against the bailout. This means that the Greek and Eurozone governments had to meet again for further negotiations in order to avoid a Greek exit from the Eurozone.
After a very difficult round of negotiations, the two parties agreed to the third bailout package in August 2015 after all. However, Tsipras paid a heavy price for the deal: due to opposition within his party, he lost his majority in parliament. Thus he decided to resign and call new elections in September 2015. Surprisingly, Syriza was re-elected and Tsipras was reappointed prime minister with a new parliamentary majority.
After that, it seems that the economic and political situation has been slowly stabilizing. In the last quarter of 2015, GDP rose 0.1%, and the European Commission expects GDP growth of 2.7% for 2017. Moreover, the international credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s upgraded Greece to B- in January 2016. However, the rate is still an alarming 24%, and the population has been significantly affected by the crisis. Unfortunately, the situation as of April 2016 remains unstable and subject to change.
Incentives for immigrants to move to Greece
In light of the current crisis, the Greek government is keen to attract investors and entrepreneurs who will give the economy a much-needed boost. To this end, they have opened up many opportunities for potential expats who want to move to Greece and establish a life there. Third country nationals, i.e. non-EU citizens, who buy property in Greece worth 250,000 euros or more, will be given a five-year residence permit to move to Greece and can also bring their families with them.
In addition, Greece offers many opportunities for investors and businessmen who are considering moving to Greece to live and work, especially in the tourism industry. There is scope for expansion of this sector’s infrastructure to make Greece a more popular destination for tourists throughout the year. Areas of interest include the development of integrated resorts and residential real estate, developed and new marinas, conference centers, etc., as well as the development of tourism infrastructure in many areas, such as the health and wellness industry. Another law to stimulate investment and incentives in the tourism sector was passed in January 2016. For example, it introduces a flat tax for investments in excess of twenty million euros for a period of seven years and simplifies the licensing procedure for tourist establishments.
For more information about moving to Greece as an investor or entrepreneur, please visit the website of the Greek Government’s Investment Agency in Greece.
In light of the present crisis, the Greek government is eager to attract investors and entrepreneurs who will provide a much-needed boost to the economy. To that goal, they have created several chances for prospective expats who wish to relocate to Greece and start a new life. Third-country nationals, or non-EU citizens, who purchase property in Greece for 250,000 euros or more will be granted a five-year residency permit and will be able to bring their family with them.
Furthermore, Greece provides several prospects for investors and businesses contemplating relocating to Greece to live and work, particularly in the tourist sector. There is room for growth in this sector’s infrastructure to make Greece a more attractive year-round tourism destination. Development of integrated resorts and residential real estate, existing and new marinas, conference centres, and so on, as well as the development of tourist infrastructure in various sectors, such as the health and wellness business, are all areas of interest. In January 2016, another legislation was established to encourage investment and incentives in the tourist industry. For example, it institutes a seven-year flat tax on investments above twenty million euros and streamlines the licencing system for tourism facilities.
Please visit the website of the Greek Government’s Investment Agency in Greece for additional information about migrating to Greece as an investor or business.
An overview of legal immigration to Greece
To be able to live lawfully in Greece, immigrants must meet all of the standards outlined in Greek legislation. The principal legislation governing non-EU nationals’ immigration to Greece allows for entrance to the territory, residency, residence, and expulsion of individuals proven to be in the country unlawfully. Depending on the goal of the visit, there are numerous possibilities.
The Greek government has enacted new regulations that enable three generations of family members to profit from the “Visa by Investment” scheme. For example, a €250,000 real estate investment will get you a five-year renewable resident visa as part of the Greek permanent residency programme. There is also no need for permanent residents to have lived in the country for a certain number of years. Furthermore, Greece is a part of the European Union’s Schengen visa-free zone. As a result, holders of a Greek permanent residency card, known as a “Greek Golden Visa,” are free to travel within the European Union.
A permanent Greek resident permit normally takes around two months to get, and the permission may be renewed every five years.
The Greek State Legal Council, Nomiko Simfolio to Kratos, is in charge of receiving, hearing, and approving visa applications. However, in order to apply for a visa successfully, you may need to submit an application to the appropriate consular authority in your place of residency.
Immigration in and out of the Schengen Area
Greece is a member of the Schengen Area as well as the European Union. Passport and immigration restrictions at Schengen member states’ internal borders have been effectively eliminated. The Schengen Agreement member states have removed passport control as well as any restrictive immigration restrictions at their internal borders, allowing visitors to move freely inside the European Union’s territory. Passport inspections and immigration checks are still in place at the country’s borders. Schengen visas granted by other Schengen nations are likewise accepted by member states. Normal immigration control procedures continue to apply at the external border or upon initial arrival into a Schengen member state; nevertheless, access to any Schengen nation is widely accepted as admission to the whole Schengen region, without the need for any further passport or visa formalities.
Citizens of foreign countries with a residency permit or residence card are permitted to remain in Greece for longer than 90 days. Due to the tight immigration policy, obtaining a residency permit or any other long-term immigration document may be difficult.
Types of visas in Greece
In the event of a stay in Greece for less than 90 days, non-EEA nationals must apply for one of several types of visas in order to make their visit legal. In the Greek immigration policy, there are several different types of visas that must be obtained depending on the situation and its circumstances:
If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, you will have to register and obtain a registration certificate or residence certificate to do so at the nearest police station or aliens office. Depending on your circumstances and the details of your case, you can apply for and obtain one of the following types of residence permits:
Residence document (residence certificate) – This document is essentially a residence permit for migrants visiting Greece on a long-stay visa who plan to stay for a longer period of time. In order to obtain a residence document, applicants must complete the following steps:
- validate their visa, which will serve as a residence permit
- or apply for a residence permit during the first three months of their stay in Greece.
The Greek immigration system offers two types of residence documents:
a permanent residence certificate – allowing its holders to remain in Greece indefinitely, to work or otherwise, under similar conditions and enjoy similar rights and benefits to Greek citizens;
Residence permit – issued for a specified period of time and renewable upon expiration.
Residence visa types 1, 2, and 3-1 are for all other categories of applicants listed above.
Depending on your circumstances and the details of your case, you may be able to apply for another type of immigration document: a residence permit. This document is valid for one, three or six months. It is usually issued in exceptional cases when the presence of the applicant in Greece is required; This applies, for example, to the parent of a sick child in Greece or to a volunteer on an assignment.
It should be noted that, in accordance with the provisions of the recently introduced immigration law, aimed at attracting highly skilled workers, the application procedure has been simplified for certain categories of applicants, including:
Executives working in multinational companies with total monthly earnings in a certain amount
Those who work in the entertainment industry.
Members of licensed professions (healthcare professionals, architects, lawyers, teachers, etc.).
International investors can obtain residence permits in Greece in several ways:
1- Legal ownership of real estate in Greece with a value of at least €250,000 or holding timeshare for period ten years in Greece With at least 250,000 euros, or a lease for period ten years hotel accommodation or tourist furnished homes worth at least 250,000 euros.
- as board member or shareholder, administrative or legal representative or CEO of a company or a branch of a foreign company in Greece.