Tourism businesses in Greece will be able to hire employees from third countries to meet staffing needs after the relevant bill was revised to include the sector, the government announced last week.
According to mass media, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt are the third countries Greek tourism can turn to now to fill huge staffing gaps with job vacancies exceeding 80,000 this year. Under a new ministerial decision aimed at addressing the growing problem of staff shortages, the tourism sector can recruit third-country nationals to fill vacancies. Terms will be announced soon.
The news comes as the tourist season in Greece is about to start and an estimated 75,000 job openings are still vacant, up from 60,000 a year ago and 53,000 in 2021, as well as an increase in tourist numbers. Tourism professionals and industry bodies have repeatedly complained about the lack of staff, and last year the government launched the portal of the State Employment Service (DYPA) with a list of vacancies in the tourism industry, most of which were in hotels and F&B services, reports gtp.gr.
The shortage was made public last year by the former president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreadis Andreadis, who urged the government to take immediate action, noting that “the quality of our tourism product is at risk.” In response, the Panhellenic Federation of Catering and Tourism Workers (POEET) said that the reasons why tourism jobs are not being filled are due to working conditions, pay and seasonality of positions.
Meanwhile, Greek hotel owners say that despite higher wages, they are still unable to find staff such as waiters, maids, gardeners and cleaners. According to a report published by INSETE, in 2021, 22% or one in five positions in the hospitality industry in Greece remained vacant.
Last year, Kikilias announced 50,000 tourism jobs to be offered to Greek expats or Ukrainian refugees, and one local tourism organization offered to hire pensioners and teachers to fill the gap.
In connection with the revised law, Greek workers’ unions are now expressing concern about possible pay differences between Greek workers and third-country nationals, especially in view of the collective labor agreement signed last year, notes gtp.gr.