November 28, 2022

Legislative framework for the access of third-country nationals to the labour market for seasonal work

As for citizens from countries outside the European Union, the process of access to our country’s labour market is regulated by the provisions of Law 4251/2014 (Government Gazette A/80) with its amendments. Under a Joint Ministerial Decision, Article 11 of Law 4251/2014 determines the maximum number of paid employment posts, offered for seasonal work, as those of fishermen and for highly qualified employment per Region and speciality which shall be covered by the recalling of third-country nationals, as well as any relevant detail. The same decision may provide for an increase up to 10% in the maximum number of posts in order to meet any contingencies.

In view of the posts provided for in the above Joint Ministerial Decision, employers who wish to hire personnel for purposes of paid employment, seasonal work or fishermen, shall lodge an application with the competent agency of the Decentralized Administration in their area of residence, stating the number of posts, the details and nationality of the third-country nationals to be employed, the speciality as well as the duration of employment.

The application shall be accompanied by:

  • A valid labour contract demonstrating that the remuneration is at least equal to the monthly remuneration payable to unskilled workers and
  • A tax clearance note or a copy of tax statement demonstrating the employer’s ability to pay the monthly remuneration asset out in the labour contract.

Article 13 of the above law describes the procedure followed for the entry of third-country nationals into the country for the purpose of seasonal work,the duration of which may notbe less than two (2) months and more than six (6) months in total per year.

In accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 11 of Law 4251/2014, seasonal work includes only the agriculture, forestry and livestock farming sectors.

Apart from the other supporting documents that employers are required to submit to the competent Decentralized Administration, they must also provide evidence that the worker is given the appropriate accommodation in accordance with case (e) of paragraph 1 of Article 13.

Seasonal workers are only granted a visa, no residence permit is required.

As for third-country nationals for whom the competent agency of the Decentralized Administration has issued and forwarded to the competent consular authority a decision approving their seasonal employment, the competent consular authority can issue, provided that all other general and special provisions are fulfilled, the following visas:

  • A national visa for seasonal work, for a maximum duration of validity and stay of six (6) months. The third-country national may re-enter with a corresponding visa, six (6) months after the expiry of the previous visa or
  • A national visa for seasonal work of a maximum validity of one (1) year, with a seasonal employment right of a total duration of six (6) months, during the validity period of the visa, which (right) is related to the employment periods provided by the labour contract, or
  • A Uniform short-stay Visa (Schengen), for multiple entries, with a maximum validity period of six (6) months, and a right to stay for ninety (90) days, for seasonal work, according to the provisions of Regulation 810/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council of 13 July 2009 L243 of 15.9.2009) and point (xiv), paragraph 1 of Article 1 of Law 4251/2014.

For the purpose of this, the relevant labour contract should include the seasonal worker’s estimated periods of employment.

The national visa for seasonal work provides access to the labour market solely for the provision of the specific work to the specific employer at whose invitation, the visa was granted.

Seasonal work can also be provided in cases of Article 18 of Law 4251/2014, indicatively we mention the following:

  • Workers legally employed by an undertaking established in a EU Member State or the European Economic area, who move to Greece with the purpose of providing a particular service, under a corresponding contractual obligation between this undertaking and the counterparty engaged in activities in Greece,
  • Workers employed as specialized technical personnel by an undertaking established in a third country and engaged in the provision of specific services under a procurement contract, between the above undertaking and its counterparty in Greece, provided that the undertaking, from which a third-country national moves, has concluded a procurement contract, stipulating the provision of specific services exclusively relating to the installation, trial operation and maintenance of the procured items,
  • Tour Leaders entering the country for the specific purpose of tour leading,
  • Athletes along with their coaches and other specialized staff accompanying them, entering the country for preparation purposes, in view of their participation in international sports events.

Third-country nationals who legally reside and work in our country, as provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 21 of Law 4251/2014, have the same labour and social security rights as the Greek workers. Therefore, the labour legislation provisions with regard to issues such as working time and remuneration apply to them as well, while they also enjoy relevant benefits offered by the national insurance bodies they are insured with.

The national visa is issued by the competent consular authority following in-person appearance and interview and provided that the special and general supporting documents required have been submitted.

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