Contributed by:

Evie Kyprianou

Contributed by:

Evie Kyprianou

General Policy

A Cyprus company that is controlled by Non-EU nationals can apply for Cyprus work permits for Non-EU Nationals permitting them and their families to work and live in Cyprus. In such cases, a temporary residence and employment permit is necessary.

The Council of Ministers, with its Decision of 7th October 2020, reviewed the policy regarding the issuance of temporary residence and employment permits to employees of existing and new companies of foreign interests registered in the Republic as well as companies that have joined the Fast-Track Business Activation Mechanism.

A key pillar of the review is the possibility of employing a higher number of Non-EU nationals of specific professions and or skill sets, for which there is a shortage of supply at national level, without a prior labour market test but merely by taking into account the companies’ annual turnover.

Eligible Companies

Companies of foreign interest must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible to employ Non-EU nationals in Cyprus:

  1. Non-EU shareholders should own the majority of the company’s shares. In the case where companies are the shareholders, their ultimate beneficial owner (a physical person) should be declared in order to receive the approval of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
  2. The ultimate beneficial owner must invest at least Euro 200,000 in Cyprus for the purposes of operating the company. This requirement only applies to companies which will employ staff from Non-EU countries for the first time. Additionally, in case the percentage of foreign participation in the share capital of the company is equal to or below 50% of the total share capital, this percentage must represent an amount equal to or greater than the amount of Euro 200,000 in order for the company to adhere to the criterion and be considered eligible.

What is more, the funds need to be legally transferred to Cyprus from a Non-EU country and the company is allowed to be left with a balance in its bank account of at least Euro 41,500 at the time of the application.

  1. The establishment/operation of independent offices in Cyprus, in suitable premises, separate from any private housing or other office except in the case of business co-habitation is necessary.
  2. If a company is not new, the audited Financial Statements, tax clearance and proof of payment of the annual levy to the Registrar of Companies need to be submitted together with the application.

Staff Categories

Companies that meet the above conditions, are entitled to employ Non-EU nationals in the following categories provided that they first obtain temporary residence and employment permits.

  1. Category 1 includes Non-EU nationals that are Directors or Partners registered in the Registrar of Companies & Official Receiver, general managers of branches, departmental managers and project managers.

The minimum acceptable gross monthly earnings for Directors is Euro 4,000.

  1. Category 2 includes Non-EU nationals that are upper/middle management executives & other key administrative, secretarial or technical personnel.

The minimum acceptable gross monthly earnings for this category is Euro 2,000.

  1. Category 3 includes Non-EU nationals in professions with particular and specialized skill sets and are considered specialists.

The minimum acceptable gross monthly earnings for this category is Euro 2,000.

The minimum earnings quoted in categories 1-3 may be adjusted from time to time, depending on fluctuations in the wage index.

  1. Category 4 includes all Non-EU nationals not included in the above-mentioned categories. Companies are expected to fill positions in this category with Cypriot or European Citizens. In the case where there are no qualified Cypriots or European Citizens available, a company may employ Non-EU nationals in posts in this category at a rate of 30% of total staff. The General Employment rules and procedures are followed under this category.

Maximum number of Non-EU employees per staff category

According to the policy there is a maximum number that can be employed under each category and these are as follows:

  1. Directors: 5
  2. Middle management executives & other key personnel: 10
  3. Specialists: The figures for these categories are based on the annual turnover of the Company and are as follows:
  • Less than or equal to Euro 1 million: 5
  • Between Euro 1-3 million:10
  • Between Euro 3-5 million: 20
  • Between Euro 5-10 million:30
  • Between Euro 10-20 million: 50
  • Between than Euro 20-30 million: 100
  • Greater than Euro 30 million: 200

It should be noted that for eligible companies that relocate to Cyprus and have joined the Fast-Track Business Activation Mechanism, the turnover that will be taken into account will be the one from abroad. This will be valid for the first two years of operation in Cyprus. Following the first two years, the annual turnover of the company in Cyprus will be taken into account.

  1. Support Staff: 30% of the total staff which will be reviewed by the Department of Labour during the labour market test.

If a company wishes to employ a greater number of Non-EU personnel under the above categories, duly justified and documented requests need to be submitted by the company to the Department.  Furthermore, in order to exceed the limit of more than 300 Non-EU nationals employed in the above-mentioned categories the consent of the Council of Ministers is required.

Family Members

Non-EU nationals with residence and employment permits under staff categories 1-3 of the Policy, have direct access to family reunification with their family members (spouse & minor children) provided that the relevant conditions of the Aliens & Immigration Law are met.

In such cases, Non-EU nationals who are family members can enter and reside in Cyprus after the Company (Sponsor) has followed the procedure of family reunification. For those family members who temporarily do not qualify for family reunification, temporary residence permits of the Dependent visitor may be issued. These family members can enter via a visa and then apply to the Department for obtaining a temporary residence permit.