Greece is making changes to the migration code
The new Migration Code, which was introduced, makes changes to the rules for obtaining the European Blue Card. This card is a special type of residence and employment permit for highly qualified citizens of non-resident countries in the European Union.
The main changes that will come into effect include:
- Reduction of the duration of the employment contract with the Greek company for obtaining the European Blue Card from 12 months to 6 months.
- Increasing the minimum annual earnings required to obtain a card from 1.5 times the average annual income to 1.6 times.
- Ensuring the possibility of obtaining a European Blue Card for citizens of non-resident countries who are already legally in Greece with a C visa, residence permit or valid passport.
In addition, the new Migration Code also introduces a separate visa program for “Digital Nomads”. From January 1, 2024, citizens of non-resident countries will have to obtain a “Digital Nomad” visa from the Greek consulate in their country of citizenship or residence before applying for a residence permit directly in Greece.
Work visa of management staff
Also, the new code tightens the criteria for obtaining a work permit for managerial personnel. From now on, only persons who are members of boards of directors, legal representatives or administrators of foreign companies with a turnover of at least 4,000,000 euros will be able to apply for a work permit for the first time.
It is noted that persons who have valid management work permits and meet the new requirements will have the opportunity to renew their permit or apply for a European Blue Card. Those who have a valid management work permit but do not meet the new criteria will only be able to apply for a European Blue Card or a corporate intra-corporate transfer permit if they meet all the criteria.
Provision of technical support
Greek companies that have agreements with foreign companies to provide technical support (such as telecommunications companies) will no longer be able to use the special two-stage route to obtain residence permits for skilled workers. They are obliged to employ these workers according to three stages of dependent employment.
Dependent employment (work of unskilled workers).
The new Code provides for changes in the process of submitting applications for work permits for employers who hire citizens of non-resident countries as “dependent” workers (ie, unskilled workers). In particular, migration authorities issue prior approval based on the relevant quotas and send it electronically to the Greek consulate in the applicant’s country of citizenship or residence. The consulate issues a visa to the applicant. Currently, the authorities issue a preliminary approval and send it to the employer or the relevant consulate by courier. The other stages of the work permit application process for these workers will remain unchanged (ie they will still be subject to the quotas set by the Decree of the Council of Ministers and will have to apply for a residence permit as soon as they arrive in Greece).
As of January 1, 2024, all non-resident nationals planning to apply for Golden Visas based on the purchase of real estate in the following locations are required to invest at least €500,000 (compared to the current amount of €250,000): • Regional units of North, Central and South Athens • Regional units of Mykonos and Santorini (South Aegean region) • Municipalities of Vary-Voula-Vouliagmeni (Attica) and Thessaloniki (Central Macedonia region)