Moving To Greece

It’s not a myth that Greece is a paradise from time immemorial.
Officially called the Hellenic Republic, Greece is fast becoming a popular expat destination, partly because of its mystic beauty and mostly because it is, after all, a developed European nation, teeming with the promise of better opportunities, and a new life filled with adventure.

In a survey on migrants by Greece’s Ministry of Economy and Finance in 2008, 46.6% of the 55,733 respondents answered that they plan to stay permanently while 23.4% opted to stay at least more than five years in Greece.

This so-called ‘cradle of Western civilization’ is located in the southeastern portion of Europe. Almost 80% of Greece’s land area is dotted with hills and mountains, the most famous of which would be the mythological throne of Zeus, Mount Olympus. The cities of Thessaly, Central Macedonia, and Thrace, however, are mostly composed of wide plains.

Greece has three main climates: Mediterranean, which can be mildly cold and wet in winter, and dry during summer, Alpine, which is mostly experienced in the mountains and is primarily consist of harsh cold winds, and Temperate which spells damp winters and hot summers.

The Grecian economy is also at par with its neighbors in Europe. Ranked as the second most industrious country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it also has the largest work-hour ration among European nations. Based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics in 2008, this country has an average per capita income of about $30,661 (US Dollars).

Shipping and Tourism are the two main industries in Greece. The shipping industry accounts for 4.5% of the country’s GDP, while tourism makes up 15%.

If you wish to go around Greece and see the country where the ‘myths of the gods’ are told, you’d either have to take the road or the railways system, which has been highly modernized since the 1980’s. Improvements in the capital, Athens, include the new international airport opened in 2001, the suburban motorway Attiki Odos which was opened in the same year, and the metro system (expanded in the year 2000).

97% of the population belongs to the Greek Orthodox religion. The immigrant population on the other hand, has approximately 200,000 Roman Catholic Church members. There are also Muslims, mostly situated in Thrace.

Education starts at the age of 6 for primary school. At the age of 12, they start gymnasium. Gymnasium is the European equivalent of secondary schooling where a pupil is prepared for university academic study.

The Grecian population is also updated with trends in science and technology. In fact, public spending for research and development amounted to about 456.37 million Euros in 2003.

Being home to the first ever Olympics in world history, Greece is also proud of its modern sports heritage. Sports like football and basketball are a major means of recreation in the country.

Grecian food is European cuisine at its healthiest. Meals are almost always made with fresh ingredients and in small portions like meze, (an array of appetizers) which is enjoyed with dips like feta cheese or tzatziki (dip made of yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic, olive oil and other herbs).

Visas and Work Permits

As with most European nations, members of the European nation are not required to secure a visa to enter or do business in Greece for 90 days. Included in this list of exempted countries are U.S citizens, Australians, Canadians, and the Japanese.

If you wish to do business or stay as a permanent resident of Greece, you would need to secure a separate resident and working visa. A special written permit must be obtained from the Grecian Ministry of Labor to an immigrant who wishes to gain employment in the country.

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