Open Invitation to Anyone Who's Dreaming to be
'Living in Greece'
And to All Crete Dreamers Post Brexit
Invitation from BritsinCrete.Net Webmaster
Aha Greece! So you dream of living in Greece and therefore becoming another Brit in Crete.gr? Then this is the website for you. So what are you waiting for, stop dreaming and come on over...
Let us be honest here, there are a few bureaucratic changes following Brexit. But in my opinion, they are manageable.
If you happen to be a UK passport holder, then you have to face facts that you are indeed now lumped in with other "alien" countries such as Russia, China, etc. It takes a little more paperwork and a good accountant and lawyer to smooth the path for residency. If you are an Irish national, of course or from any of the other 27 EU states, you have the right to be living in Crete or living anywhere in Greece for that matter that is not off limits - for example, near a military zone or restricted border area. You still could, it is just there is a vetting and approval process to go through.
Despite the economic downturn, Purchasing Property in Crete, or even renting, the island is still an attractive hotspot for British and Irish Ex-pats!
For anyone wishing to buy a property in Crete, there is no better time than now with endless choice and more than a few bargains. But hey, if you are not thinking on purchasing a property overseas, still keep reading and plan for visiting Crete with view to the home rental market.
Greece is a civilised country
The "system" here in Crete is very relaxed. Rules are rigid, but lightly enforced until someone snitches, then the police must act. This is generally the case and just the way it works. It means the police do not get over worked, and life is somewhat peaceful. No concerns about safety for the kids or even for the oldies. You can let them out without a leash. Make sure your dog is on one though. Roaming dogs are not appreciated in villages. Just watch out when driving, above all else, for a traffic cop having a bad day, usually on a motor bike. If you are stopped, then speak clearly, in slow deliberate English and do not speak out of turn. If you are over the booze limit, you are in deep crap-ola if you are stopped and breathalized!
BTW - Another cautionary tale on behaviour... No "Mooning" when intensely happy. One young Bristol guy in the sun, sand and sex resort of Malia several years ago dropped his shorts to his ankles and drew the wrath of an offended, Cretan lady. She became a local heroine for her actions. Suffice to say the young Brit was put out of action and luckily kept all his bits. If you know what I mean.
Working in Hospitality - A Favourite
Working in restaurants, bars pubs etc -- where food is handled you will need to get a health clearance paper from the local health authority. For Brits or other non EU nationals like the Ukrainians, of course a work visa has to come first. Outside of the tourist sector, making an income can be very difficult unless you are creative and/or willing to do things you would uncharacteristically do back home.
Never use personal cheque books
Ask around, you'll know why. Suffice to mention, #Greece is fast becoming a digitally controlled economy. The government is doing its best to force everyone away from cash transactions, as is the case in the rest of Europe. But I recommend to always carry small change around in your pocket and smaller bank notes. I promise you that those will come in very handy. Let us say from the periptero (street kiosk for ciggies, snacks, noodles, frappe and soft drinks) even at the petrol stations, etc).
For the Over 65's
If you are over 65 years old, you definitely are in the seniors category. That is a plus. #Greeks can't work after pension age. It has been a long standing rule that if you are taking your UK pension in Greece then you must register as a resident. Always tax thing. You do not want to be double taxed. Suffice to say there is a double taxation agreement between Greece and UK which pre-dates and post-dates Britain being in the EU.
Being a sixty something person is well respected in Greece, especially in healthcare. When before it was OK just to arrive in Greece for a visit with your EHIC Health Card, now things are a bit different. Travel and Private Health Care cover is required.
Necessary HealthCare Cover for all Ages
If you need to go to hospital unexpectedly, you go, not to an Accident & Emergency Department (A & E) initially - they don't have them usually, but to "Pathology". Just follow the crowd after you check in with hospital reception. Most medical terms in English are taken from Greek anyway. Therefore, you will soon fathom out the hospital signs. Many doctors did their internships in Britain, North America or South Africa. While they speak English with regional accents to match, any back up and nursing support staff, may not.
Becoming a local, Coping with Gossip
If you know any Greeks, they are generally gregarious and out going. You do not however have to satisfy your neighbours and / or Brit or Irish friends' inquisitiveness (nor new found acquaintances) with your medical history or any other confidential matters ... Crete can be like a sieve where confidentiality is concerned. But that also means you soon become part of the 'greater community'. Go to any government office and you will know what I mean about privacy. Lower the voice in any conversation on anything you do not want to be overheard. Yet, officially, Greece has the best privacy laws in Europe and at state level respects them.
Driving - On the Left or Right
And, just in case you are a little confused, Greece drives on the right, in other words defined as left hand drive. That is the opposite to the UK and Ireland. At times it does get confusing - when too much of the local strong stuff, raki (distilled grape must) gets consumed.
Big Tip #1 - Settle in Quickly, Get Acquainted with the Greek Ways
This is the simple message I give to all of you dreaming of living in Greece. Leave your UK and Irish "mindset", well, in the UK and Ireland, at the time you leave British and Irish shores. That applies to all intending Ex-pats in Greece - no matter where you originate from. Put aside life in your home country after you arrive in Crete or any other Greek destination. There is another world out there. It is called: Greek Life.
In fact, the best way to move to Crete happily, is adjust to local time (I do not mean GMT+2 ) I mean, just slide in and blend -- go with the flow. Adjust to the slower pace. Follow the paper trail, if you have to. It is not just foreigners who have to face it and do it. Greeks bemoan the bureaucracy all the time. Do not rush any decisions, unless a government official is on your tail. Then think long and hard before acting upon it.
Get to know the Greeks, they are generally a great and caring lot, especially in a village. The way it is here, is the way it is.
Friendly Advice: the island of Crete is Cretan first and Greek second.
You'll find Creta is very, v-e-r-y quiet for the most part in winter. That is a great time of year to pursue those pastimes you never have had enough time for before in your working life, such as bird watching, painting, and other pleasurable pursuits including hiking, riding, just being close to nature or if you are a Samaritan, do it. The list is as long as your imagination. In winter time, there is nothing quite like the smell of a real log fire either burning Olive or Carob wood. So in winter, be active and set yourself things to do. You'll be fine.
A quick plug for our web sites: I hope you will check out the Brits in Crete Forum and post questions about your future here. One of the most visited sections regards employment:
Note: If you are an employer, post your job offerings in this section. (it is free to do so)
If you are a job seeker - tell employers you are looking (it is free to do so) post here
Big Tip #2 Come and Rent First
It is best to come and rent for a while and to see if you like the area you are staying. Then make longer, lasting decisions.
Just some random guidance for when you activate your dream of living in Crete or another part of Greece as a foreign resident. Follow these simple basic pointers that apply to Crete or in fact anywhere in Greece and you will be living the good life, very quickly. Remember, in Greece, money talks. If you want to be a hermit, look to do it in style, regardless if you are British or Irish or any other nationality. Hope that helps! From the BritsinCrete team.