Employment of foreign nationals in Cyprus is largely governed by the availability of equivalently qualified Cypriot or EU/EEA personnel to fill the vacancy. However, the Cypriot government has exempted executive directors, middle-management staff and other key supporting staff working for international business companies from this requirement.
Foreign nationals may work in Cyprus if he or she has an employment visa. Employment visas are issued to foreign nationals who are employed in Cyprus by Cypriot entities.
Professional and clerical employees are usually not granted visas unless no qualified local (i.e. Cypriot or EU/EEA) personnel are available. A local employer must prove that it cannot find a Cypriot employee with comparable experience.
Step 1: Initial application with the Cyprus Department of Labour
In making an initial application to the Cyprus Department of Labour, a Cypriot employer must usually submit the following documents (while the foreign national is still abroad):
(1) Form M58: completed, signed by the employer and stamped.
(2) Form M64: completed, signed by the employer and stamped.
(3) Copy of the passport pages which include the applicant’s personal data and the expiry date which should be at least until the date of the expected employment period as stated by the employment contract.
(4) Original employment contract stamped by the Commissioner for Stamp Duty (IRD) and for supporting staff (Cat. 3) also stamped by the District Labour Office. Only for supporting staff (Cat. 3): Copy of the approval form issued by the Department of Labour in Nicosia
(5) Original Clean Criminal Record Certificate – Certified by Diplomatic Means – Translated in English here in Cyprus (for example by PIO)
(6) Original Medical Certificates certified by diplomatic means and translated in English here in Cyprus (for example by PIO) showing negative results for Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS and syphilis. These certificates should be not older than 4 months.
(7) Bank guarantee (€350-850 according to the country of origin) to cover possible repatriation expenses. The validity of this guarantee should be at least 12 months beyond the expected employment period. Some employers may have an agreement with the CRMD whereby they issue a collective bank guarantee for all their present and future TCN staff.
(8) List of the company’s personnel (existing + new applicants). Company’s Tax Clearance Certificate issued by the Internal Revenue Department (if not in possession of the Migration Department yet).
(9) Company’s audited financial statements of the previous year including the auditor’s report regarding the company’s viability (if not in possession of the Migration Department yet).
(10) Submission fee of€34,17 for each application
In deciding whether approval is granted, the Department usually takes into account several factors, most importantly the availability of suitably qualified local personnel (Cyprus / EU/EEA nationals).
Agency: Department of Labour
Step 2: Application for a work permit to the Civil Registry and Migration Department
Once obtaining a recommendation letter from the Labour Department, employers can then proceed to file an application with the Civil Registry and Migration Department for a work permit for the foreign national. A valid work permit is a prerequisite for all non-EU foreign nationals wishing to work in Cyprus.
The application form can be found here.
Time: Usually 4-6 weeks after submission, although a work permit can take up to 6 months to be examined
Duration of general employment visa: 4 years (6 years for livestock and agricultural farming).
However, the following persons are exempt from the 4 year limit:
(a) Highly skilled personnel employed in companies with turnover of more than a million or hundreds of thousands euros and whose activities are within the economic development priorities set by the Cypriot government
(b) Executive directors, middle-management staff, executive staff and other key personnel working in companies with foreign activities (international business companies) [Please refer to the Section below on ‘Employees of International Business Companies]
(c) Athletes and coaches of individual or team sports
(d) Religious icon painters
Step 3: Obtain a residence permit
After obtaining a work permit, foreign nationals may obtain residence permits valid for a duration of up to one year. The residence permit is renewable. The number of times the permit may be renewed and the renewal period depend on the purpose of the permit.
Employees of international business companies
International business companies certified with the Migration Department are able to easily employ foreign nationals falling under categories (b) mentioned above, namely Executive directors, middle-management staff, executive staff and other key personnel.
To qualify as an international business company, employers have to meet the following criteria:
(1) (a) The majority of the company’s shareholders have to be foreign (= non Cypriot). In case the shareholders are other companies, proof should be given of the identity of the ultimate or beneficial shareholders in order to be approved by the Civil Registry and Migration Department. The following companies are exempted: Public companies registered in any recognised Stock Exchange as well as International Business Companies which were operating before the change of regime and for which the Central Bank of Cyprus possesses all the necessary data.
(b) In case the percentage of the foreign participation in the share capital of a company is equal to, or below 50% this foreign participation should represent an amount of €171.000 (100.000 CYP) or more.
(c) Applications of companies offering only services and therefore investing capital below €171.000 will be examined, taking into consideration that the nature of their business may not require a higher capital investment.
(2) Newly established companies will have to prove by banking and other documents that the direct foreign capital investment amounts to at least €171.000 and that this capital was brought into Cyprus legally from abroad.
(3) All applying companies have to operate from self-contained offices in Cyprus, located in suitable distinct premises, not part of a private residence or another office (except if they share tenancy). If the nature of the business allows people to work from their home, such cases will be examined individually.
To be certified with the Migration Department, employers will need to submit the following documents:
(1) Certificate of incorporation: original and stamped by the Registrar of Companies.
(2) Certificate of registered office: original and stamped by the Registrar of Companies.
(3) Memorandum and Articles of Association: original and stamped by the Registrar of Companies.
(4) Certificate of Directors: original and stamped by the Registrar of Companies.
(5) Certificate of Shareholders: original and stamped by the Registrar of Companies.
(6) Profile describing the nature of the company’s business and details of its operations. List with the names, full addresses, passport numbers and nationalities of the ultimate shareholders of the applying company. This is not required if: (1) the company is registered in any recognized Stock Exchange, in which case proof of such registration must be submitted or (2) the company was operating before the change of regime and for which the Central Bank of Cyprus possesses all the necessary data.
(7) List of the Company’s personnel (applicants and employees).
(8) Original bank statement with a minimum balance of€41.006.
(9) Title deed or lease agreement or contract of sale and purchase of the offices in Cyprus. If these documents are not available when the application is submitted then they should be submitted to the CRMD within 3 months from the date of application.
(10) Proof by banking and/or other documents that the direct foreign capital investment amounts to at least €171.000 and that it was brought into Cyprus legally from abroad.
(a) Executive Directors
Includes employees who are:
i. Consulting Directors or Partners (as registered with the Registrar of Companies)
ii. General managers of branches and subsidiaries of foreign companies
iii. Departmental managers
The maximum number of Executive Directors that can be employed is generally 5, unless the company can justify otherwise. Newly appointed Executive Directors must be paid a minimum of €3872 and above per month. This amount may be adjusted from time to time according to fluctuations in the salary index
Duration: There are no restrictions on the length of employment of these employees
(b) Middle management staff, executive staff and other key support staff
Staff falling under this category include Directors who are not considered to be Executive Directors as defined above, other Executive / middle-management staff or other managerial, clerical or technical personnel with a monthly salary ranging from €1936- €3871. The amounts may be adjusted from time to time according to fluctuations in the salary index.he maximum number of these employees permitted in this category in 10.
The CRMD has the discrete authority to decide on the employment of more than 10 people in justified, depending on each company´s operation data.
Where the company wishes to employ more than 10 people, the company should justify the necessity of the employment of third country nationals, taking into consideration the payments as well as-
i. The scope of the company´s activities
ii. The proportion of foreigners to Cypriots and
iii. The duration of the company´s operation
Duration: There are no restrictions for the residence period of these employees.
(c) Other support staff
All third country nationals employed in other professional, managerial, technical, clerical etc. positions in Cyprus and do not fall under the abovementioned categories (a) and (b), are classified in the remaining supporting staff.
Companies are expected to employ Cypriots or European citizens for this category, unless it can be shown that no suitably qualified local personnel are available. A company may employ third country nationals in positions of this category, following the procedure and submitting all the certificates/supporting documents described in the list of accompanying documents after an affirmative decision (stamp of contact) is ensured by the Labour Department.
To read more about employing foreign nationals as an IBC, please refer here.
Shield GEO does not provide sponsored work permits in Cyprus at this moment.
|Category||Description of Visa|
|EU/EEA Nationals||Under the EU principles of freedom of movement, EU/EEA Nationals are free to work in Cyprus without a work / residence permit. EU Nationals from member states have the right to enter Cyprus by simply showing a valid EU passport or ID card without having to register upon arrival.
If there is an intention to stay and take up employment, the EU/EEA national has to:
a) Apply for a Registration Certificate. This application must be submitted during the first 4-month period eight days after entering Cyprus at the local Immigration Branch of the Police (a fine is imposed in case of non-compliance, although this is rarely imposed in practice).
In applying for a registration certificate, the EU citizen must turn up personally at the Civil Registry and Migration Department (this service is for the time being, provided at the local Immigration Branch of the Police in all districts except Nicosia where a District Migration Office exists) and submit the following documents:
- A duly completed standard form (obtainable from Civil Registry & Migration Dept or from the local Immigration Branch of the Police) depending on the category of residence permit one is applying for (employed activity, self-employment etc.).
- Valid Passport or ID Card
- 2 photos
- A fee of €8,54)
(Note: if one is applying for dependants, he must present certified true copies of marriage certificate, birth certificates of children etc.).
b) apply for a social insurance number upon securing employment in Cyprus
The registration certificate is issued within 6 months from the date of application.
The application forms can also be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Interior: http://moi.gov.cy (more information at +357 22804400 email@example.com)
|General Employment||Work permits for non EU/EEA nationals are generally only granted if no local Cypriot or EU/EEA qualified personnel are available. However, this does not apply to highly-skilled personnel, employees from international business companies, athletes and religious icon painters.
Duration: 4 years and renewable
|Employees of International Business Companies||Executive directors, middle-management staff, executive staff and other key personnel working in companies with foreign activities who are employed by international business companies certified with the Migration Department may apply for this visa.
Duration: No restrictions on length of time employed