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Recruitment of Third-Country Nationals in the Tourism Industry (especially the Philippines)


Alexandros N. Theodorou


November 02, 2023


07:38 AM

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In this article, we will explore the recruitment of third-country nationals for employment in the tourism sector, with a special focus on hiring from the Philippines, in accordance with Articles 13 and 18A of Law 4251/2014.


Article 13 of Law 4251/2014 permits employers to hire third-country nationals for seasonal work. This article delves into the specifics of recruiting third-country nationals by employers operating in the tourism sector, particularly in hotels. Tourism activities encompass various services, such as tourist accommodation, catering services, sea tourism services, travel agency activities, and airport baggage handling services.

Seasonal Employment Duration

It's important to note that in cases of recruitment for seasonal work, the employer can request employment for up to 9 months within a 12-month period, extendable up to a total of 5 years. This means that the worker is required to leave the country for a minimum of 3 months each year. If the worker fails to fulfill this obligation, they are prohibited from reentering Greece for up to 5 years, in accordance with Law 4251/2014.

Recruitment Procedure

When an employer intends to hire a third-country national for seasonal work, they must submit an application to the relevant immigration office at the location of the employment. The application should be accompanied by several documents, with the employment contract being the most critical. The contract should include comprehensive information about the employer and employee, the start date of employment, the worker's specialization, workplace details, working hours per week or month, remuneration (which should not be less than that of an unskilled worker), and the contract's total duration, which can extend to 5 years.

While presenting the application, it's no longer necessary to provide the employee's birth or family status certificate, but the employee must carry it upon entry into Greece, as tax and insurance authorities (EFKA) may request it. If the application is approved and an authorization decision is issued by the immigration office, these documents, along with others, are forwarded to the relevant Greek consulate to grant the seasonal work visa. The Greek consular authorities will require certain documents from the worker, including a translated employment contract in English and coordination of the travel insurance start date with the air ticket pre-booking.

Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for Skilled Workers

For the Philippines, there's a specific process related to the issuance of the OEC, which must be completed before the foreign worker's arrival in Greece. After the consular authorities grant the visa, the responsibility of issuing the OEC rests with the Philippine government. The employer's lawyer must engage with an agency in the Philippines to obtain this certificate, a process that can take about a month. The worker must have the OEC to leave the country for Greece. Note that the required documentation differs for seasonal workers and domestic workers, although the process remains the same.

Arrival in Greece and Residence Permit Application (Article 18A of Law 4251/2014)

A worker employed for more than one period of employment, each with a maximum duration of 9 months within a 12-month period, can apply for a residence permit for seasonal work. This permit is valid for 1 to 5 years, depending on the employment contract, allowing the worker to engage in seasonal employment in Greece for up to 9 months within a 12-month period. The required documents are similar to other work permits, but the worker must be insured with the relevant insurance institution at the time of the application, which differs from permanent residence work permits.

This residence permit may be renewed once for up to 5 years, provided that all conditions are met, and the worker complies with their obligations.

Important Notes

It's essential to highlight that this residence permit does not grant access to family reunification, and the time spent does not count toward achieving long-term resident status. Moreover, the time spent legally in residence and employment does not contribute to fulfilling the requirements for applying for Greek citizenship, as per the provisions of the Code of Greek Citizenship. In conclusion, understanding the recruitment procedures and legal obligations for third-country nationals in the tourism industry, especially from the Philippines, is vital for both employers and employees seeking opportunities in Greece. Law 4251/2014 governs these processes, and compliance with its provisions is crucial for a successful employment experience in the Greek tourism sector.

Alexandros is an experienced Greek Immigration Lawyer specializing in residency and visa matters for Greece.

Contact Alexandros today to learn more about work permit options in Greece!

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