Employment To Companies Of Foreign Interests in Cyprus
Application procedure and examination time:
A. Employment of Third Country Nationals with high skills:
A Third Country Citizen (TCC) with high skills can enter the Republic in order to work in a company of Business Facilitation Unit (BFU) with an entry visa or securing an entry permit. The entry visa can be obtained from the consular authorities of the Republic abroad.
To secure an entry permit, an application is submitted by the employer to the CRMD.
After the arrival of TCC in the Republic, he / she must apply to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD), for his / her registration in the Register of Foreigners, and to obtain the necessary temporary residence and employment permit in the Republic.
Β. Eligibility criteria
Eligible businesses must meet the following criteria:
− The majority of the company’s shares are owned by third‐country nationals.
It is noted that in the event that the percentage of the foreign participation in the share capital of the Company is equal to or below 50% of the total share capital, the Company is eligible when this percentage of the share capital represents an amount equal to or greater than the amount of €200,000.
− Public companies registered on any recognised stock exchange.
− Companies of international activities (formerly off‐shore), which operated before the change of regime, whose data are held by the Central Bank.
− Cypriot shipping companies.
− Cypriot high‐tech/innovation companies*
− Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or Cypriot companies active in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology.
− Companies of whom the majority of the total share capital is owned by persons who have acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalization based on economic criteria, provided that they prove that the conditions under which they were naturalized continue to be met.
* An enterprise qualifies as ‘High Technology Company’ if:
- it is already established and has a presence in the market, and
- it has a high level or experimental R&D intensity, and
- it developed product/s that fall into one of the following categories: products related to aviation and space industry, computers, electronic and telecommunication products, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, research and development equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, non‐electrical.
C. Employment of Support Staff:
For support staff, entry is only permitted with entry clearance.
After the arrival of TCC in the Republic, he / she must apply to the CRMD, for his/ her registration in the Register of Foreigners, and to obtain the necessary temporary residence and employment permit in the Republic.
Applications are processed within (4) weeks, provided they are duly completed. This period shall expire if the information or documents submitted in the applications are insufficient.
Legislation and Policy:
In order for a third‐country national to be employed by a foreign‐owned company in the Republic, he or she is required to hold a temporary residence and employment permit for this purpose, in accordance with the current Immigration Law.
The Council of Ministers, by Decision of 15.10.2021, approved the New Strategy for attracting companies to operate and / or expand their activities in Cyprus, which enters into force on 2.1.2022. The Strategy abolishes the existing Policy for the employment of staff from third countries employed by companies / companies of foreign interests and replaces it with the Strategy. According to the provisions of the New Strategy:
- Abolishment of maximum returned numbers of foreign staff Companies are free to employ any number of highly skilled third‐country nationals without going through labor market
‐ The existing categories of staff of Senior Manager, Inter‐manager and Specialized Personnel are maintained, for reasons of administrative structure /statistics.
‐ Qualified Staff is not limited to specific professions or skills.
‐ All companies are committed to investing 30% of their total staff in Cypriots / EU citizens, over a period of five years. In five years, ie after 2.1.2027, the ratio for new recruitments will be checked. If a company does not comply with the 70:30 ratio, the case will be evaluated based on its own criteria and will be brought before the management.
- The time for examination of residence and employment applications is set at one (1)
The companies that are already operating on the basis of the current Policy for the employment of foreign staff by companies of foreign interests continue to benefit from the New Strategy, without further formalities. Businesses that will not already be registered in the Register of Foreign Companies of CRMD, must first be included in the Companies Facilitation Unit (BFU) that will operate in the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry.The BFU will check whether the companies are eligible and will provide a written entry in the new Register. The registration will be submitted to CRMD for the purposes of issuing residence permits.
Criteria for third‐country national employment for high skills:
- Receipt of a minimum gross monthly salary of €
Third‐country nationals who already hold residence and employment permits at the intermediate level (BCS Key Personnel) of foreign interest companies, with a monthly gross salary of € 2000 or more, will continue, for the next 5 years ‐ until 31.12.2026, to renew their residence permit to the same employer without increasing their pay.
- Possession of relevant academic qualifications or at least two years of relevant experience with the position being filled.
- Possession of an employment contract of at least two years duration. Even if the application is submitted for the issuance of a first license of one (1) year, the contract must have a duration and a corresponding stamp for two (2).
Duration of temporary residence and employment permit:
If the conditions set by the Legislation are met, the employee is granted a temporary residence and employment permit. The duration of the leave depends on the duration of the employment contract and can be up to two (2) consecutive years. Within the first quarter of 2022, the possibility of issuing a temporary residence permit for up to three (3) years is expected.
Maximum Permitted Length of Stay:
Employed with high skills in a company of foreign interests can reside in the Republic without time limit, provided that he holds a valid temporary residence and employment permit.
The restrictions that apply to the general employment of foreigners in the Republic apply to support staff.
Change of Employer:
An employee with high skills in a foreign interests company can change employer and work in another foreign interests company, regardless of length of stay in the Republic, provided that the person:
‐ finds a job within one (1) month from the termination of the previous employment;
‐ the foreign interest company that will employ him is a beneficiary company, based on the criteria set by the Council of Ministers and which are examined by the Companies Facilitation Unit of the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry.
An employee of a foreign interest company may also change employer and work for an employer who is not a foreign interest company, provided that he / she has not completed the maximum permitted residence in the Republic for general employment purposes.
There is direct access to the family reunification of foreigners employed with high skills with their families (spouse and minor children), provided that the relevant conditions of the Law on Foreigners and Immigration are met, Chapter 105 as amended.
In order for third‐country nationals who are members of the family (spouse and minor children) of a third‐country national employed by a foreign‐owned company to enter and reside in the Republic, the family reunification process must be followed.
For family members (spouse and dependent children) who temporarily do not meet the conditions for family reunification (eg due to the validity of passports or the duration of the marriage), temporary residence permits for a dependent visitor may be issued.
These family members can enter with a visa and then apply to the Department to obtain a temporary residence permit.
The information provided in this letter does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only