Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Greece Employs Egyptian Agricultural Workers to Boost Economic Growth

Sun 12 May 2024 | 10:43 PM
Taarek Refaat

The Greek Immigration Ministry said that Athens will begin recruiting Egyptian workers this summer to work in temporary agricultural jobs under an agreement between the two countries to address the labor shortage.

Greek Immigration Minister Dimitris Karidis met with Egyptian Labor Minister Hassan Shehata in Cairo this week, and Karidis said that the two countries must strengthen cooperation in order to confront waves of illegal immigration in the region.

Egypt and Greece have strong and close relations due to their location within the same geographical framework, and a large Greek community lives inside Egypt, and the two countries have been linked by international documents since 1998.

Egyptian-Greek relations witnessed a qualitative leap at various political, economic and cultural levels and became a model to be emulated in bilateral cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples, enhancing the benefit of natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean and maintaining security and stability in the region. The relations of Egypt and Greece enjoy great privacy.

Karidis pledged to “quickly complete travel procedures for Egyptian workers, who number 5,000 agricultural workers, by the beginning of next June.”

The Greek minister met, in Cairo, on Friday, with his Egyptian counterpart, Soha Gendi, and they discussed enhancing joint cooperation in immigration files and training for employment. The Egyptian Minister pointed out “the importance of accelerating the activation of the memorandum of understanding that was signed between Egypt and Greece regarding Egyptian seasonal workers, in preparation for sending them to Greece to work in the agricultural sector, in coordination with the relevant state authorities to serve the goals of cooperation between the two countries.

In 2022, Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on seasonal employment, opening the way for Egyptians to work in Greece legally, establishing a regulatory and legal framework that contributes to the development of joint relations, and resolving the issue of “illegal immigration.”

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in Egypt, in mid-February, “the unemployment rate in the country reached 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2023.”

The agency indicated that “agriculture and fishing activity achieved the largest participation rate of workers in economic activities, with a number of workers amounting to 5.322 million workers, representing 18.4% of the total number of workers in Egypt, occupying first place among economic activities.”

The Greek economy is expected to grow nearly 3% this year, far exceeding the euro zone's average growth of 0.8%.

The agricultural sector is one of the main pillars of the Egyptian economy, contributing up to 11.3% of the gross domestic product. The agricultural sector represents an estimated 28% of total jobs, and more than 55% of agriculture-related employment in Upper Egypt.