Access to Employment


Do I have the right to work in Greece?

If you are an asylum seeker (an applicant for international protection), and you have completed the procedure for lodging your application for international protection, and you possess a valid “applicant for international protection card” or “asylum seeker’s card” then you have the right to access salaried employment or to the provision of services or work.

If you are an asylum seeker, you do not have the right to be self-employed or start your own enterprise.

If you are a pre-registered asylum seeker, you cannot access legal employment, until you complete the procedure for full lodging your asylum application.

Note that to be legally employed, your asylum seeker’s card must be valid, therefore do not forget to renew your asylum seeker’s card as it expires.


Do I need a work permit?

No. The “work permit” was previously a prerequisite for asylum seekers in Greece. Under the law 4375/2016 (article 69), it has been abolished.

Note that employers and accountants are not always aware of all legal developments. You may need to clarify, refer to specific details of the law, or request assistance from an NGO in your location to discuss your case with employers and accountants.


What are the other requirements to work legally in Greece?

To work legally, you must have a tax number (AFM) and a social security number (AMKA).


How do I obtain a Tax Number (AFM)?

To obtain a tax number in Greece, you must go to the tax office (DOY) which is closest your place of residence. You can find the closest DOY using this list. Note that the information in this link is in Greek.

At the tax office (DOY) you must present the following documents:

  • The original and a copy of your valid “applicant for international protection card” or “asylum seeker’s card”;
  • Proof of your residence if your asylum seeker’s card does not indicate your current address.

Note that the tax number is necessary for all transactions with public services, in order to rent a house/apartment, to buy a car or a motorbike and in general, it facilitates all transactions with service providers.


How do I prove my place of residence?

If your place of residence is different to the one stated in your card, or if your card does not indicate your address, you may submit an application to the Asylum Service, to declare your address and receive a certificate to present it to the tax office.

If you live in an open accommodation facility or site, an apartment or reception facility of an NGO or any other actor (such as municipality), you may request a certificate to prove your address from the agency that manages the accommodation.

If you are hosted by a Greek person or any other migrant or recognised refugee, you need to submit an official, written declaration from that person stating that they are hosting you. This must include their tax number and certification of their signature in a Citizen’s Centre or KEP. In addition you will need evidence that they are the owner or tenant of the address, such as a lease, the contract of the house or a copy of a utility bill.


Keep your data updated!

In your first registration for the AFM and if there is any further change to your personal information, you will be requested to complete an application. You can find the form that you must complete here, in Greek. You may need to request assistance, so that you have the form ready to submit when you go to the tax office.

If you have an email address, you may register in the online Greek tax statement system “TAXISNET” that will enable you to conduct transactions with the tax authorities online. You can find information here. Note that the information is in Greek.

If there is any change in your address, you need to go to the tax office closest to your new residence, submit proof of the new address and update your personal details with the tax office. If you are already registered in TAXISNET, you may verify the changes online.


How do I obtain a Social Security Number (AMKA)?

You must have a Social Security Number (AMKA) in order to work legally in Greece. You also need an AMKA to be insured and benefit from the Social Security provisions for employment injury, maternity, sickness, disability, unemployment and family responsibilities.

Your ΑΜΚΑ ensures your rights related to labour and a pension and also facilitates your access to hospital and pharmaceutical care. More details about the AMKA can be found here. Note that the information in the link is in Greek.

You may submit an application for an AMKA at a Social Security Agency AMKA office, or at a Citizens’ Service Centre (KEP-ΚΕΠ). Note that information in the links is in Greek.

When you submit the application, you need to present your valid “applicant for international protection card” or “asylum seeker’s card” and proof of your address.

Note that the experience of applying for the AMKA varies from person to person. In some locations the AMKA is granted quickly to asylum seekers, in other locations the authorities request additional documentation.

Pre-registered asylum seekers may experience problems more frequently than fully registered asylum seekers. If you face difficulties, you may request assistance from an NGO in your area.


What are my rights and obligations as an employee?

According to Greek law, asylum seekers have the same labour and insurance rights as Greek nationals. These refer to basic salary, family allowances, hours of work, overtime, annual leave, minimum age of employment, apprenticeship and training, employment injury, maternity, sickness, unemployment and pension.

Sometimes a special license or additional formalities are necessary for certain types of employment. For instance, if you wish to work in a store that ensures hygienic standards, such as restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, you will be expected to have a health certificate and a special work permit issued by a police department. You can find specific information about this here. Not that the information is in Greek.


Do I need to pay tax if I work in Greece?

If you are employed in Greece, you must submit an annual income tax declaration, ‘dilosi eisodimatos’ for the previous year. You can submit this at the tax office closest to where you live. If you are registered in the TAXINET (online Greek tax statement system), you can make online transactions with the tax authorities. More information in Greek can be found here.

Note that the submission of a tax declaration in Greek may require some assistance from someone familiar with the process and you may consider seeking assistance from a Greek NGO or a professional accountant.


How do I open a bank account in Greece?

You may need a bank account for your salary payments. If you do not have one, you can open a bank account by presenting the following documentation at a bank.

  • The original and a copy of your valid “applicant for international protection card” or “asylum seeker’s card”;
  • Proof of your current address;
  • A certificate confirming your employment, issued by your employer, and a copy of your employment contract;
  • A copy of the document of issuance your tax number (ΑFΜ);
  • Your tax clearance (ekkatharistiko eforias) or an official declaration that you had not submitted an income tax return in Greece.

Note that the experience of opening a bank account in Greece varies from person to person. Some banks are more helpful than others. You may consider seeking assistance from Greek friends or a Greek NGO.


Can I register as an unemployed person?

If you are unemployed and seeking employment, you have the right to be registered in the Registry of OAED, the “Manpower Organisation” of the Ministry of Labour. If you register, you may benefit from OAED services, such as to be referred to a job if there is a vacant position corresponding to your qualifications and interests and to receive an unemployment bulletin. You may also access services and advice including CV registration, preparation of an individual action plan, opportunities to participate in employment or vocational training programs. You may also access other services, depending on your location. You can find more information in Greek here.

Note that there are offices of OAED in all regions of Greece. You can find the local office by asking in your neighborhood, or you may find the locations in Greek here.

To access the unemployment bulletin, you need to present the following:

  • A copy of your valid “applicant for international protection card” or “asylum seeker’s card”;
  • AMKA number;
  • Tax clearance (ekkatharistiko eforias) or an official declaration that you had not submitted an income tax return in Greece;
  • A utility bill or a lease contract for proving your address;
  • Any other document that OAED may consider necessary for verifying that you are unemployed.

 


If I am a minor do I have the right to legally work?

If you are aged 15 years or older, and you have the consent of your parents, the persons who exercise your parental care, or your legal guardian, you may be legally employed in Greece.

In the absence of consent, Greek courts may decide on granting you permission to work, upon your request.

There are specific regulations for your protection as a minor. You can find more information about this in Greek here.

Employment for the children under 15 years is prohibited with the exception of work on artistic or commercial activities such as in advertisement, theatre or cinema and is only possible under specific conditions.


Can I make a complaint about how I am treated?

If you face problems in your workplace, or you want to be informed about your rights, or you want to submit a complaint against your employer and find a solution, you may contact the local office of the Labor Inspection (SEPE). SEPE is the control mechanism of the Ministry of Labour for the proper implementation of labour law in Greece. It is designed to safeguard labor rights and the safety and health of workers.

SEPE is able to investigate undeclared work and also has a role to inform, advise and prevent breaches of labour law. It covers all Greek territories through a network of regional services.

You can find the nearest SEPE office by asking or looking for them here. Note that information provided in the link is in Greek.


Do I have the right to work in Greece?

Yes. If you are a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection and you hold a valid residence permit, you have access under the same conditions as Greek nationals to:

  • salaried employment;
  • provision of services or work;
  • exercise an independent economic activity.

Your family members have the same rights as you, upon them getting a valid residence permit.

Note that to be legally employed, your residence permit must be valid, therefore do not forget to renew your residence permit as it expires.


Do I need a work permit?

No. The “work permit” was previously a prerequisite for refugees in Greece but under the law 4375/2016 (article 69), it has been abolished.

Note that employers and accountants are not always aware of legal developments. You may need to clarify, refer to specific details of the law as noted above, or request assistance from an NGO in your location to discuss your case with employers and accountants.


What are the other requirements to work legally in Greece?

To work legally, you must have a tax number (AFM) and a social security number (AMKA).


How do I obtain a Tax Number (AFM)?

To obtain a tax number in Greece, you must go to the tax office (DOY) which is closest your place of residence. You can find the closest DOY using this list. Note that the information in this link is in Greek.

At the tax office (DOY) you must present the following documents:

  • The original and a copy of your valid residence permit
  • Proof of your residence if your residence permit does not indicate your current address.

Note that the tax number is necessary for all transactions with public services, in order to rent a house/apartment, to buy a car or a motorbike and in general, it facilitates all transactions with service providers.


How do I prove my place of residence?

If your place of residence is different to the one stated in your residence permit, or if your residence permit does not indicate your address, you may submit an application to the Asylum Service, to declare your address and receive a certificate to present it to the tax office.

If you have an asylum seeker’s card which bears the stamp “PENDING ISSUANCE OF RESIDENCE PERMIT”, it is important that your address is indicated on the card.  If not, you may get a certificate issued by the Asylum Service as explained above.  When you get your residence permit, you need to go again to the tax office in order to update your personal details. See below advice on how to keep your details updated.

If you live in an “open accommodation facility” or site, an apartment or reception facility of an NGO or any other actor (such as municipality), you may request a certificate to prove your address from the agency that manages the accommodation.

If you are hosted by a Greek person or any other migrant or refugee, you need to submit an official, written declaration from that person stating that they are hosting you. This must include their tax number and certification of their signature in a Citizen’s Centre or KEP. In addition you will need evidence that they are the owner or tenant of the address, such as a lease, the contract of the house or a copy of a utility bill.


Keep your details updated!

In your first registration for the AFM and if there is any further change to your personal information, you will be requested to complete an application. You can find the form that you must complete here, in Greek. You may need to request assistance, so that you have the form ready to submit when you go to the tax office.

If you have an email address, you may register in the online Greek tax statement system “TAXISNET” that will enable you to conduct transactions with the tax authorities online. You can find information here. Note that the information is in Greek.

If there is any change in your address, you need to go to the tax office closest to your new residence, submit proof of the new address and update your personal details with the tax office. If you are already registered in TAXISNET, you may verify the changes online.

If you had a tax number as an asylum seeker and you have now been granted refugee or subsidiary protection status, you must go to the tax office in order to update your personal details, declaring the number of your residence permit and submitting a copy of it.


How do I obtain a Social Security Number (AMKA)?

You must have a Social Security Number (AMKA) in order to work legally in Greece. You also need an AMKA to be insured and benefit from the Social Security provisions for employment injury, maternity, sickness, disability, unemployment and family responsibilities.

Your ΑΜΚΑ ensures your rights related to labour and a pension and also facilitates your access to hospital and pharmaceutical care. More details about the AMKA can be found here. Note that the information in the link is in Greek.

You may submit an application for an AMKA at a Social Security Agency AMKA office, or at a Citizens’ Service Centre (KEP-ΚΕΠ). Note that information in the links is in Greek.

When you submit the application, you need to present your valid “residence permit” and proof of your address

Note that the experience of applying for the AMKA varies from person to person. In some locations the AMKA is granted quickly to refugees, in some other locations the authorities request additional documentation. If you face difficulties, you may request assistance from an NGO in your location.


What are my rights and obligations as an employee?

According to Greek law, refugees have the same labour and insurance rights as Greek nationals. These refer to basic salary, family allowances, hours of work, overtime, annual leave, minimum age of employment, apprenticeship and training, employment injury, maternity, sickness, unemployment and pension.

Sometimes a special license or additional formalities are necessary for certain types of employment. For instance, if you wish to work in a store that ensures hygienic standards, such as restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, you will be expected to have a health certificate and a special work permit issued by a police department. You can find specific information about this here. Not that the information is in Greek.


Do I need to pay tax if I work in Greece?

If you are employed in Greece, you must submit an annual income tax declaration, ‘dilosi eisodimatos’ for the previous year. You can submit this at the tax office closest to where you live. If you are registered in the TAXISNET (online Greek tax statement system), you can make online transactions with the tax authorities. More information in Greek can be found here. Note that the submission of a tax declaration in Greek may require some assistance from someone familiar with the process and you may consider seeking assistance from a Greek NGO or a professional accountant.


How do I open a bank account in Greece?

You may need a bank account for your salary payments. If you do not have one, you can open a bank account by presenting the following documentation at a bank.

  • The original and a copy of your valid residence permit;
  • Proof of your current address;
  • A Certificate confirming your employment issued by your employer, and a copy of your employment contract;
  • A copy of the document of issuance your tax number (ΑFΜ);
  • Your tax clearance (ekkatharistiko eforias) or an official declaration that you had not submitted an income tax return in Greece.

Note that the experience of opening a bank account in Greece varies from person to person. Some banks are more helpful than others. You may consider seeking assistance from Greek friends or a Greek NGO.


Can I register as an unemployed person?

If you are unemployed and seeking employment, you have the right to be registered in the Registry of OAED, the “Manpower Organisation” of the Ministry of Labour. If you register, you may benefit from OAED services, such as to be referred to a job if there is a vacant position corresponding to your qualifications and interests and to receive an unemployment bulletin. You may also access services and advice including CV registration, preparation of an individual action plan, opportunities to participate in employment or vocational training programs. You may also access other services, depending on your location. You can find more information in Greek here.

Note that there are offices of OAED in all regions of Greece. You can find the local office by asking in your neighborhood, or you may find the locations in Greek here.

To access the unemployment bulletin, you need to present the following:

  • valid residence permit;
  • AMKA number;
  • Tax clearance (ekkatharistiko eforias) or an official declaration that you had not submitted an income tax return in Greece;
  • A utility bill or a lease contract for proving your address;
  • Any other document that OAED may consider necessary for verifying that you are unemployed.

The Ministry for Migration Policy would like to inform beneficiaries of international protection  holding a valid residence permit (ie as  refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection) that in case they are seeking employment they have the right to register with OAED (national authority responsible, inter alia, for supporting unemployed persons and promoting their employment) as unemployed. Registration is possible for women and men who have reached 18 years of age as well as for boys and girls who have reached 15 years of age and are not attending any formal education programme.

Registration with OAED is a prerequisite for individuals who are interested in benefiting from vocational training programmes, programmes for promotion to employment, other services, as well as benefits, provided they fulfil the additional relevant criteria in effect.

OAED field offices across the country are mandated to complete registration procedures as per legislation in force and inform registered individuals on the services and entitlements to which they can have access.

Registration with OAED is also possible for asylum seekers holding the trifold (Asylum Seeker Card) of the Asylum Service.

Interested individuals residing in sites or apartments can seek more information from actors providing counselling services or directly from OAED offices.

Relevant information can also be sought (in Greek, English, Arabic and Farsi) in the following link:

https://help.unhcr.org/greece/living-in-greece/access-to-employment/


If I am a minor do I have the right to legally work?

If you are aged 15 years or older, and you have the consent of your parents, the persons who exercise your parental care, or your legal guardian, you may be legally employed in Greece.

In the absence of consent, Greek courts may decide on granting you permission to work, upon your request.

There are specific regulations for your protection as a minor. You can find more information about this in Greek here.

Employment for the children under 15 years is prohibited with the exception of work on artistic or commercial activities such as in advertisement, theatre or cinema and is only possible under specific conditions.


Can I start my own business in Greece?

Yes, if you are a recognised refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, you have the right to establish commercial and industrial companies or work as a freelance professional. For every profession there are specific requirements. You may need to have your diploma recognized in Greece and can do so at one of the following institutions.

The National Organisation for the Accreditation of Qualifications and Professional Orientation (Ε.Ο.P.P.Ε.P.). Find more information in Greek here.

The Interdisciplinary Organisation for the Recognition of Academic Titles and of Information. Find more information in Greek here.

If you wish to establish a business you need to pre-register with the Insurance Association of Self-employed Workers (OAEE) and the “Chamber”. There are different Chambers in Greece for industry and commerce, for traders, for small and medium industries and others. You can find the relevant chamber here. Note the information provided in the link is in Greek.

Finally you need to submit the relevant forms for starting a business at the Tax Office.

Note that you will need specific advice and guidance to do this. A labour counselor of an OAED office, an NGO, a professional accountant or lawyer can provide you with this assistance.


Can I make a complaint about how I am treated?

If you face problems in your workplace, or you want to be informed about your rights, or you want to submit a complaint against your employer and find a solution, you may contact the local office of the Labor Inspection (SEPE). SEPE is the control mechanism of the Ministry of Labour for the proper implementation of labour law in Greece. It is designed to safeguard labor rights and the safety and health of workers.

SEPE is able to investigate undeclared work and also has a role to inform, advise and prevent breaches of labour law. It covers all Greek territories through a network of regional services.

You can find the nearest SEPE office by asking or looking for them here. Note that information provided in the link is in Greek.

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