In ‘red’ the lack of labour: The plan to attract immigrants

With three key actions the government is trying urgently to address the shortage in particular in its agricultural, construction and tourism sector (in view of the summer season) with the cutting edge of attracting immigrants to the (legal) Greek labour market. The first two actions to attract migrant workers in order to support employment (and thus the Greek economy) are already part of the institutional framework but have not been able to be implemented pleria (as they passed through the Parliament late in 2023), while the third is imminent before the summer. With regard to the already established interventions, on the one hand, the reduction of the time of continuous legal work in Greece in order to obtain an immigrant residence permit has been reduced to 3 years (out of 7) and on the other hand the reduction of the time of residence in Greece in order to give a right to work to 2 months (out of 6). The third action planned by the government is to increase working time for migrant workers from third countries to 18 months (against 9 months). The combination of these actions (including immigrant training programmes) is expected by competent government officials with whom came into contact, that they could address the giant labour shortage in agricultural production, construction and tourism. The lack of labour in these sectors is not a “partial” issue of the economy. Of the truth, the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Giannis Stournaras, with (10.03. 24) stated that “we lack 200,000 hands in tourism, agriculture and construction” and “if we do not find them immediately we will start having a problem in the economy as well. In fact, he stressed that this is “a problem that we will find in front of us if we do not deal with it quickly”. Other estimates, which are considered by the Ministry of Migration Policy, raise the shortages to 400,000 workers. It is worth noting that Mr. Stournaras directly linked the issue of the lack of labour to the “hot” problem at this time, i.e. inflation. The TTE commander completed that “in the 1990s, in the convergence process, foreign workers kept inflation in Greece low.” Mr. Stournaras noted that “the large interest rate reduction (p.r. because of the decline in inflation) overheated the economy and increased all values. If we did not have immigrants in the agricultural sector and in construction, we would not then achieve the inflation criterion,” he noted. It is revealing how much the lack of labour affects the front of reducing inflation and interest rates is also the TTE’s finding on the new minimum wage. According to secure information from, it says that “the risk of rising wages that can be caused by increasing narrowness in the labour market through increasing labour supply should be addressed.” Analysts explain that the integration of immigrants into employment will not only keep agricultural production, construction and tourism “industry” alive, but keep wages relatively low, allowing inflation to be reduced by non-monetary means, accelerating interest rate reduction and thus credit and economic expansion.

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