Many people visit Greece today for its beautiful beaches, warm sunny climate and classical history, architecture and culture. What many people do not realize is what a vibrant modern European country Greece has become. It is one of the most multicultural societies due to immigrants from the Balkans, Africa and Asia and well as from other European Union member countries, bringing a mix of languages and cultures with them. Greek is still the official language though! The currency is the Euro.
Previous to its membership into the EU in 1981, Greece was a much more primitive country, where it could take 2 years to obtain a telephone landline and cars were only owned by the privileged few. The downside to today’s ‘progress’ is that regulations are much tighter, genuine home-cooked Greek food is hard to find, and it is difficult to meet a Greek-speaking local working in the air-conditioned hotels and self-catering holiday complexes.
For those considering making a permanent move to Greece, all the changes in communications and infrastructure will undoubtedly make the process much easier and the culture shock will be less. Greeks have always been welcoming and hospitable people, and members of other EU countries will have no problem getting into Greece. Check out the latest visa information carefully and cast your eye over the jobs which may be available to you. As the majority of Greece’s income comes from the service industry and tourism, there are likely to be many opportunities for English-speaking tour guides, or hotel and restaurant staff. Unemployment however is quite high, currently running at more than 9.5%. There are a number of active ex-Pats groups in Greece which always offer helpful advice from those who have gone before.
There are several real estate options for those moving to Greece. Initially it is wise to rent and either find a job or a location where you will be happy to settle. Try out a few areas, or explore and ask questions to make sure that when you put down roots more permanently, you are in the right place. You may wish to buy a home, or build a dream property. You will definitely need to take legal advice on the latter two options to ensure the vendor actually has the right to sell you the home/land and that your purchase will be legally secure. You may also need the assistance of an international moving company to move or store your goods for you.
Although the weather in Greece is idyllic, the healthcare is not. The Greek healthcare system is one of the worst in Europe, mainly due to underfunding. Public healthcare is available in theory, although limited on some islands, providing free or low cost healthcare to those paying into the Greek social security system, otherwise private healthcare insurance is essential, if only to get you transferred to the mainland, or to be repatriated.