Employment permits for 3rd countries personnel

Local Cyprus company with international interest

Brief History

On 29.11.2006, the Council of Ministers, established the policy for issuing and renewing residence and employment permits for personnel from third countries who are employed in companies of foreign interests that are registered in the Republic of Cyprus. This decision allowed the entry and employment of third country nationals in such companies under more favorable terms, with the main objective of attracting foreign investment. Subsequently, on 24.09.2008, the above Decision of the Council of Ministers was revised, in order to extend its application to Cyprus shipping companies. The latest revision of this policy took place on 24.04.2013. This review extended the conditional application of the policy to companies whose third country shareholders had acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalisation, based on economic criteria.  The Decision of the Council of Ministers set out the criteria that companies must meet in order to benefit from this policy, the categories of staff and the maximum numbers of third country nationals who can be employed in each category of staff. These are described in the following paragraphs.

Eligible Companies

In order for companies of foreign interest, including former offshore companies and Cyprus shipping companies to employ third country nationals in Cyprus the following must apply:

  • Their third country shareholders should own the majority of the company’s shares
    The following cases are excluded:

  • Public companies registered in any recognised stock exchange

  • Former offshore companies that were operating in Cyprus by approval of the Cyprus Central Bank, before the change of the offshore status


If the percentage of foreign participation in the company’s share capital is equal to/or less than 50% of the total share capital in order for the company to be considered as suitable, the foreign participation should represent an amount equal to or greater than the amount of €171.000.

  • In the case where companies are the shareholders, their final owners (natural persons who are the ultimate beneficial owners) should be declared, in order to receive the approval of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

  • A foreign direct investment of capital amounting to at least €171.000 legally admitted to Cyprus from abroad. This should be proved by appropriate bank and other documents. This requirement only applies to companies which will employ staff from third countries for the first time.

  • To operate in independent offices in Cyprus, housed in suitable premises separate from the any private housing or other office, except in the case of business co-habitation.

Staff Categories:

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

Directors:

In the category, the following third country nationals are included:

  • Directors or Partners registered in the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver

  • General Managers of branches and of mother companies of alien companies

  • Departmental Managers

 

It is emphasised that the minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for Directors is €3.872, an amount that may be adjusted from time to time, depending on fluctuations in the wage index.

 

Middle management executives and other key personnel:
In this category, the following third country nationals are included:

  • Upper/ middle management personnel

  • Other administrative, secretarial or technical staff

 

It is emphasised that the minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for this category is between €1936 - €3871. Amounts may be adjusted from time to time depending on wage index fluctuations.

Support Staff:

All third country nationals not included in the above categories.

Companies are expected to fill in 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 third country nationals in posts in this category by following the procedure and submitting the certificates/ supporting documents/ documents described in the list of accompanying documents, after first securing the positive recommendation (sealed employment contract) of the Department of Labor.

Maximum number of third country employees per staff category:

  • Senior Management: Five (5) persons, unless the Civil Registry and Migration Department is satisfied that the employment of a greater number is justified, depending on the circumstances of each company

  • Middle management executives and other key personnel: Ten (10) persons, unless the Civil Registry and Migration Department is satisfied that the employment of a greater number is justified, depending on the circumstances of each company.

  • Support Staff: There is no maximum number for the employment of third country nationals under this category, provided that the necessary approvals from the Department of Labor have been obtained. No approval form the Department of Labor is needed for third country nationals who enjoy free access to the labor-marker

 

For employing a greater number of third country personnel under the above categories, duly justified and documented requests by the company must be submitted to the Department. The requests must include information on the salary offered as well as:

  • The company’s turnover

  • The ratio of third country employees to Cypriots/EU Nationals and

  • The company’s operating time in Cyprus

 

Entering the Republic of Cyprus: Third country nationals can enter the Republic for the purpose of employment at company of foreign interests either by obtaining:

  • An entry permit from the Civil Registry and Migration Department (see steps above for application submission) or/

  • A visa from the Consular Authorities of the Republic abroad. Find the Consular Authorities of the Republic abroad

Required Actions after Arrival:

Within seven (7) days after the arrival of the third- country national in Cyprus, s/he must apply to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, to register in the Aliens Register according to the Aliens and Immigration Regulations as amended to date. Moreover, s/he must, within the aforementioned period, apply to the Department for temporary residence and employment permit, according to the legislation in force.
The residence permit issued in a card form.

Family Members:

Third country nationals employed in companies of foreign interests as Directors of Middle management executives or other key personnel are able to exercise their right to family reunification. In such a case, third country nationals who are family members (spouse and minor children) can enter and reside in Cyprus after the sponsor has followed the procedure for family reunification. For family members (spouse and dependent children) who temporarily do not qualify for family reunification (e.g. because of the duration of the passport or the duration of the marriage), temporary residence permits of 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.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further information or clarifications.

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