Expat living in Greece is changing its focus

Published:  3 Jun at 6 PM
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Given that Greece has always been an alternative expat destination for thousands of Brits who’ve fallen in love with its beauty and laid-back culture, what’s the reality of living there right now?

A favourite holiday destination for decades, the siren song of Greece has drawn a good number of Brits to take up permanent residence as EU citizens. However, holidaying in this seductive country is far different than living and working, particularly since the economic crisis hit in 2008.

Nowadays, Greek living is no longer an extended vacation as the country’s financial troubles are getting worse and are seemingly never-ending. Previously unheard of cultural and economical challenges are the result of the turmoil, with expats as well as locals being forced to adjust to the here and now.

For example, expats arriving in Greece hoping to find paid work are dreaming the almost impossible dream, as a huge proportion of Greek citizens are now unemployed. Around 50 per cent of young people are without jobs, and general unemployment this year is calculated at 25 percent but is almost certainly higher due to unemployed undocumented residents.

Even if a job is found, salary levels have dropped sharply over the past few years, and are even lower for non-Greek speakers. Working illegally is possible, especially in language schools, with under-the-table payments par for the course, but the tax police are regularly seen inspecting such companies and are strict in their judgements of offenders.

Whether you’re working or retiring in Greece, finding reasonably-priced housing in the cities is tricky, and many rental apartments come unfurnished with anything at all. This means no kitchen equipment, and services including electricity, water and heating can cut a large slice out of low wages or the basic UK state pension.

It has to be said that prices are lower outside the major conurbations, and the general cost of living is less than in the UK and other major first-world countries. Having savings to tap into means you can enjoy the beauties of this amazing country without having to count the pennies, and discovering the ‘real Greece’ and its warm, friendly people is the ongoing experience of a lifetime.
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