Tourism businesses in Greece will be able to hire employees from third countries to meet staff demands after a relevant bill was revised to include the sector, the government announced last week.
According to media, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt are the third countries to which Greece’s tourism can turn now to cover the huge gaps in personnel with vacant jobs exceeding 80,000 this year.
Under the new ministerial decision aimed at addressing the growing problem of staff shortages, the tourism sector can employ third country nationals to fill empty positions. Terms and conditions will be announced shortly.
The news comes as the tourism season in Greece is ready to kick off with an estimated 75,000 positions still empty up from 60,000 a year ago and from 53,000 in 2021 and in view of an increasing number of tourist arrivals.
Tourism professionals and industry bodies have repeatedly complained of staff shortages and last year the government launched the Public Employment Service (DYPA) portal listing available positions in tourism, the majority of which concerned hotels and F&B services, reports gtp.gr.
The issue of shortages was made public last year by former president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, who called on the government to take immediate action noting that “the quality of our tourism product is at risk”.
In response to Andreadis, the Panhellenic Federation of Catering and Tourist Industry Employees (POEET) said the reasons jobs in tourism were not being filled had to do with the working conditions, the pay and the seasonality of posts.
Greek hoteliers, meanwhile, say that despite the higher wages, they are still unable to find staff such as waiters, chambermaids, gardeners and janitors.
In 2021, 22 percent or one in five positions at hotel businesses in Greece remained vacant, a report released by INSETE found.
Last year, Kikilias announced the opening of 50,000 jobs in tourism to be offered to Greek expatriates or to Ukrainian refugees while one local tourism body proposed the recruitment of pensioners and teachers to fill shortages.
In view of the revised law, Greek worker unions are now expressing concern about potential pay differences between Greek employees and third country nationals particularly in view of collective labor agreement signed last year, notes gtp.gr