Asylum Seekers and International Protection

Who has the right to work in Greece?

Following the discussion regarding the access of asylum seekers and the beneficiaries of international protection to the labour questions such as: “whether asylum seekers and/or beneficiaries of international protection have a legal right to work in Greece or not?” occur. At the same time employers, other professionals and public servants need further clarifications on whether people who are granted with the abovementioned statuses are eligible to issue Tax Registration Number (AFM), Social Security Number (AMKA) or AMA. In the following section you will find relevant information regarding the right of third country nationals who are asylum seekers or have been recognized as beneficiaries of international protection. In addition, you will find a practical guideline on the hiring of the population that may help you to clarify some of your questions.

Right to access the Greek labour market as an asylum seeker

Within six (6) months of the lodging of the asylum application, the applicants of international protection, named as asylum seekers, have the legal right to access the Greek labour market as employees.

More specific:

  1. Asylum seekers who are full registered and obtain a valid asylum seeker’s card, which indicates via a stamp “Right to enter the labour market”, have the relevant right.
  2. As the valid asylum seeker’s card is a prerequisite, every asylum seeker must renew the card every three or six months to have access to the labour market.
  3. Under the law 4375/2016 (article 69), the work permit certificate has been abolished.
  4. Asylum seekers do not have the right to be self-employed or to set up an enterprise.

Right to access the Greek labour market as a Beneficiaries of International Protection:

The granted status of International Protection provides immediate legal access to the labour market of Greece, under the same conditions as Greek citizens. Therefore, every person who has been granted with the status of beneficiary of international protection either as a recognized refugee or as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection has the legal right to work as an employee and/or to establish their own enterprise.

More specific:

  1. Every beneficiary of international protection to be able to work must hold a valid residence permit or the stamped Asylum Seeker’s card which indicates “PENDING ISSUANCE OF RESIDENCE PERMIT”. The beneficiary should renew the residence permit as it expires.
  2. Every beneficiary of international protection has the right to exercise independent economic activity, including self-employment and enterprise.
  3. Under the law 4375/2016 (article 69), the work permit certificate has been abolished and therefore it is not a prerequisite for accessing the Greek labour market.

Practical Guidance on hiring Refugees

Cumulatively, the high rage of demand for worker in several sectors, the rapid demographic changes, the hesitation of the new generation of national employees to work in sectors different than the field of their expertise having an negative impact on the pool of candidates and the fact that the refugees have the right to set up an enterprise and they might attempt to hire persons under the same legal status, the following guidance aims to provide information about the requirements that every potential employers should know to hire a refugee.