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Expat Experiences

Greece and the Greek Islands - Expat Experiences

Do you have experience of expat life in this country? Would you like to share your story so that others can benefit from it? Please contact us today!



Jobs

Unemployment is high in Greece (6.6%) and jobs are usually found through friends and relatives. So that said, a .net developer you will get anything from 700 euros to around 1000 euros a month. There are 14 paydays a year so for a gross salary expect 10.000 to 14.000 euros a year.

Regarding the work situation in Crete - well it is mainly based on the tourism industry which means firstly that most jobs are seasonal and not year round. In fact - lets be realistic - in the winter in Crete there is very high unemployment, in the summer the pay is not great, 600 to 800 euros per month is average, and the cost of living is rising all the time (Greece has become one of the most expensive countries in the Eurozone).


Cost of living 1

Meal in taverna - a main course, salad and 1/2 kilo (litre) of table wine is generally around 10 - 15 euros per head. table wine (from the barrel) approx 6 - 8 euros per litre Bottled wine in taverna from about 12 euros, but average 15 to 18 euros.

Bottled wine in supermarket from 2 euros but average price around 4/5 euros.

1/2 litre of fresh milk 80 cents.

Small loaf of sliced bread 90 cents.

Cup of coffee from 1.50 euros in cafeneon to 4 euros + in the town cafes.

Petrol 1.35 euro/litre.

If you decide to make the move be prepared to support yourselves (i.e. have a back up fund) until you become established - it can take some time but it can be done, although generally you will still need your own funds to see you through the winter months.


Cost of Living 2

Not long got back from lovely Zante after 4 years of being away.

Still a nice place and the people are still as lovely as ever, but my god with the Euro isn’t it expensive for us Brits to go there! Nearly £2 for a mug of tea, average breakfast £4, main meal cheapest £7, on average up to £14! a pint of bitter nearly £4!

And the Greeks were wondering why the place was so empty. How can the Greeks and others with the Euro, expect us without the Euro to be able to afford to come out there? There’s the credit crunch and the flights are going up too. Then when leaving Zante to make things worse after standing for 2 solid hours to check in at Zante airport we were charged for our cases being over weight!!! What a rip off!

I can see a lot of places closing down. What’s going on and is this trend going to continue? I have a place in Bulgaria and the Euro hasnt gone in there yet, but what happens when it does?


Communication

Regarding Broadband Internet, it is now generally available in most places across the island, and certainly in and near the main towns, although there are one or two places where the sudden property development has overcome the local infrastructure and where there is a year or two waiting list for a landline telephone! However even in these areas there are alternatives now, such as mobile broadband.


Cars

I have spoken to Greek Embassy in UK and from what I can gather if you get a ' Transfer of Residence ' permit (this is the important part) BEFORE you leave UK, you become exempt from Registration Tax (which is currently 20% of the value of your car when it was brand new!)

You will still have to pay for the car inspection and Greek plates and it costs approx 700 euros, however, I have been told from those who managed to do it that it is a lengthy process and very difficult if you don’t speak Greek.

The driving illegally bit is getting harder to do so I’ve heard and some have ended up with huge fines so be careful.

From what I have learned so far, it seems the cheapest option is to sell your car and buy a Greek one. I had a UK registered car in Greece and had to take a ship to Bari or Brindisi Italy to take it out of the country every so often....to re-stamp it in Greece. In the end, it wasn't worth the hassle and I had to sell it back in England. So probably not worth the costs.


Residency in Rhodes

This is a very complex area. But in simple terms as an EU citizen you are free to come and go. The rules in Greece say that if you stay for over three months you should apply for residency. In addition, I do not know if the fact that Rhodes if regarded as a border area has any bearing on the matter.

If you are retired (over 60), there is a law that says you must have a permit - if you take your pension in Greece and you are staying permanently then you have to but the once only for a five year permit then it does not have to be renewed. After five years if you have a clean record then you are regarded as a permanent resident in Greece. Even if you do not take your pension in Greece, but say leave it in the UK, you may have to pay something in Greece depending on your circumstances on income levels. The Greek tax man is very particular on making sure they get their share of your pension income if they can. Britain and Greece have double taxation agreements. Get yourself a good accountant for sound advice. More over you are likely to have to have some kind of statement from your UK tax office as to your situation. A lot depends on whether you have advised the UK that you have left for good or not.

Like everything in Greece, while the law says one thing, there are different ways to handle it depending on the local circumstance.


Rental prices

Prices vary enormously. If you rent in a "tourist" area, such as Athens, you could be asked for 700 Euros per week. In other parts of Greece it could be a lot cheaper but you'll probably have to go there and ask. Most renting is done via a friend of a friend of the family. The ability to speak Greek for negotiating would be an advantage. If you go through an English-speaking office, the price could double.

I have only travelled Greece as a tourist but my impression is that prices on the outskirts of Kalamata could be reasonable and the non-touristy areas in other parts of the country - away from Athens and major cities.


Ex-expat

I have lived on the island of Corfu for almost 25 years and I can honestly say, it was a good time in my life. However, I have just moved back to live in the UK. When I first went, my daughter had to rely on lessons being sent over from the UK and to date, there is still no English speaking school on the island although it is now widely spoken throughout. Any work connected to Tourism is most popular although now the big Tour Operators are merging, there are not so many posts available.

It is a good life, living in the sun, however it can also be very frustrating! People tend to forget that the islanders are still many years behind the UK in all walks of life. Paperwork and anything official can get you to a stage of tearing your hair out! Don't even think about filling in a tax form!!

All in all, as I say a good life but not such a high standard. If my daughter had not moved back to the UK and had my beautiful grandchildren, then I may have stayed - who knows? At the moment, I am enjoying the English countryside (which we all seem to take for granted) and visiting a big supermarket is just wonderful! (sad but true having been used to the ones in Corfu). Everyone told me that the UK is so much more expensive but having now been here for almost 6 months, I find that the prices of things are now on level par with Corfu - gone are the days of Greece being cheaper. I hope not to put you off but just to point out that the sun isn't everything.



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