Well-trained and versatile, the Cypriot workforce is one of the island’s most valuable resources, offering high standards of productivity, technical expertise and professional excellence at reasonable costs to businesses. The island’s labour force numbers some 434,500 persons in the Republic of Cyprus, with some 80.1% working in the services sector, 16% in industry and only 3.9% in agriculture.
Since Cyprus’ accession to the EU, the European Union’s legislation framework regarding labour regulations has been adopted. The Cypriot labour market has a tradition of social dialogue and a well-developed institution of free collective bargaining. Terms and conditions of employment are negotiated either directly between the employer and the employee or through collective bargaining between trade unions and employers’ organisations. Approximately 65 to 70% of the labour force is unionised and/or is covered by collective agreements. Collective agreements regulate employment conditions such as remuneration, working hours, health and safety, annual holidays and contributions to the national retirement fund (provident fund).
Various branches of industry are represented by registered employers’ associations, the purpose of which is to promote and safeguard the interests of their members. Most of these associations belong to the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB), a body established to provide information to its members on labour, collective bargaining, and social and economic problems, as well as representing members and their viewpoints to the government, the trade unions and the public.
Expat Employees and Immigration
Cypriot laws on immigration have been amended to conform to the European Union’s acquis communautaire and thus visa obligations for foreign nationals reflect EU regulations and obligations. While Cyprus is a signatory to the Schengen agreement, it has not implemented the agreement yet and is not expected to do so before the Cyprus problem has been resolved.
EU-Nationals : EU-Nationals are free to live in Cyprus. They can enter the Republic without a work contract and search for work for a period of three months. However, EU citizens planning to stay in Cyprus for longer than three months or beginning employment must apply for a registration certificate, as soon as they secure employment and in any case within a period of four months from the date of entry to Cyprus. The relevant application form (MEU1) is available at the Civil Registry and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior and at the District Aliens and Immigration Branch of the Police.
Non-EU Nationals : Non-EU nationals wishing to work in Cyprus require an employment visa, issued by the Immigration Office. Non-EU nationals employed at the top level of management by international companies with operations in Cyprus are generally granted employment visas with no problems, however professional and clerical staff are only granted employment visas if no suitably qualified Cypriot candidate is available. In the case of executive directors, middle management staff and other key personnel, the applications (Form M61 and M64) are submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, while in the case of supporting staff the application (M61 and M64) is submitted to the District Aliens and Immigration Branch of the Police. In the latter case, the application must be accompanied by a contract of employment stamped by the Labour Office. Companies may approach private employment agencies for recruiting suitable staff. In addition, local unemployed staff may be found through the Department of Labour while EU staff may be found through the European Job Mobility Portal.
Renewal of Permits
Residence and employment permits are granted mainly on a temporary basis and for a specified position. In case of Business Companies (BCs), the Civil Registry and Migration Department is the authority responsible for the first issue and subsequent renewal of residence permits granted to all non-Cypriots employed by BCs in Cyprus. The Civil Registry and Migration Department acts in consultation with other competent authorities such as the Registrar of Companies, the Labour Department and the Cyprus Police. EU citizens may enter the Republic without work contract and search for work for a period of three months before applying for a residence permit.
Updated: February 2016