As Cyprus is now a member of the EU, work permits aren’t required for any EU citizen who wants to work or start a business on the island (although certain formalities must be observed – see EU Citizens below).
As a result, increasing numbers of young EU citizens are looking at the possibility of living and working in Cyprus and bringing up their families there. The Mediterranean climate, the slower pace of life and the low crime rate are all very attractive. Yet, before you make any decisions about moving to Cyprus to work, you should ensure that it will be possible for you or any family members to work in Cyprus and dispassionately examine your motives and credentials. What kind of work can you realistically expect to do there? Don’t forget that you will be competing with well qualified Cypriots for jobs.
Although English is widely spoken on the island (by around 90 per cent of the population), you may find that some employment areas are closed to you unless you speak fluent Greek. This naturally depends on which area of employment you choose. Even if your qualifications are acceptable in theory, if you want to practise a profession such as the law, engineering or accountancy, you must pass specialist exams in Greek. Those expatriates who come to work in Cyprus usually find jobs or start businesses in tourism, information technology or the construction industry, where foreign qualifications are more readily accepted.
Since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes all EU countries, are guaranteed freedom to work in Cyprus exactly as they are in all EU countries.
As an EU citizen you may enter Cyprus simply with your passport or national identity card and look for work for a period of up to 90 days. However, if your intention is to remain in the country, either to work or start a business (or study or retire), you should begin the application process for a temporary residence permit as soon as possible. If you’re working for a fixed period in Cyprus for a foreign company, your employer should arrange your application for you.
If you will be working in Cyprus for less than 90 days (e.g. in seasonal employment), you must declare the fact to the Immigration Department within eight days of your arrival on form 2DECL.
Non-EU citizens intending to work in Cyprus require a work permit (as well as a visa) before arriving in the country. In order to issue a work permit, the Ministry of Labour must be satisfied that a Cypriot or an EU citizen isn’t available to do the job.
There are two categories of permit: Executive and Non-executive . Executive refers to those who are directors or partners of companies registered with the Registrar of Companies in Cyprus, as well as departmental managers of international companies with offices in Cyprus. Non-executive refers to other managerial, professional, administrative, technical and clerical staff.
A work permit, when granted, is usually valid for three months or a year.
This article is an extract from Buying a Home in Cyprus.