With Cyprus being a full EU member country, anyone from any other EU member country has the right to work in Cyprus as an employee or self-employed, or they may relocate an existing business to Cyprus, or set up a new company. No work permit is required. However, people from non-EU countries face different regulations.
To work in Cyprus, you must apply to your local District Labour Office to register for social insurance. As an employee, the social insurance payments will be deducted from your salary by your employer and paid to the Social Insurance Fund. The employer also contributes to the Social Insurance payable. The Social Insurance Scheme is financed by the contributions paid by the employers, the employees, and the State.
The rate of contribution for employed persons is 17.9% of which 6.8% is payable by the employee, 6.8% by the employer, and 4.3% out of the State budget. For self-employed persons, the rate is 16.9% of which 12.6% is payable by the self-employed person and 4.3% out of the State budget.
The rate payable for Individual Income Tax is Up to 19.500 Euros – 0. 19.501 to 28.000 Euros – 20%. 28.001 to 36.300 Euros – 25%. 36.301 to 60.000 Euros – 30%. 60.001 Euros and over – 35%. These rates are current as of October 2012, but may have changed since publishing; we will amend this page when we have the relevant information.
EU citizens must also apply for a residence permit if they intend to stay longer than three months and take up employment in Cyprus. You can apply for a residence permit (Yellow Slip) at your local Immigration Department.
Download the Cyprus Social Insurance (in pdf format, may not be compatible with mobile devices) (latest version available is from 2009)
When planning to work in Cyprus, you should seriously consider how you will survive financially if you do not manage to gain employment. It is not so easy to find jobs in Cyprus for English speakers. There are few jobs around. However, if you do not speak or write Greek then you are facing a significant disadvantage. Also, the global recession and Cyprus’ economic crisis has meant fewer jobs being available in Cyprus, and unemployment has reached an all-time high.
The best ways to find jobs are via the local newspapers, recruitment agencies, and online recruitment websites, or your local department of labor office. However, you must be prepared to be patient, as many employers do not even bother to reply to applications that were not successful.
If you use local online forums and free classifieds websites to look for jobs in Cyprus, you should be aware that there are many scams around that can trick you into giving your personal details for their ilicit use, or you could end up being part of a money laundering operation. Be very aware, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is, some of the best scams can appear to be completely ligitimate, so do some research on the company first.
The pay in Cyprus is very low in comparison to similar jobs in the UK, however it is favourable to many eastern european workers, and so you should recognise the competition you are up against. The minimum wage as of 1st April 2012 for employees who have been at their place of employment for over six months, is €924. Whilst the minimum wage for new employees, who have been working at their place of employment for less than six months is €870 (gross) monthly. This applies only to sales staff, clerical workers, auxiliary healthcare staff and auxiliary staff in nursery schools, crèches and schools. The minimum wage rate is reviewed every year, and any changes take effect from 1st April.
It is not compulsory for employers to provide the employee with a contract of employment, however many employers of foreign workers do provide a contract. The document should contain information about the place of work, the registered address of the organisation / company, your job and duties, the date of the commencement and, if agreed, of the termination of your employment, holidays with pay, earnings and allowances and working hours and days.
Hours of work will vary depending on the type of work, however to generalise, working time ranges from 38 to 40 hours per week in most companies. Overtime should be paid for work performed outside the specified working hours, however we have observed that many will expect you to work outside of your normal working hours, but do not pay for it. According to the law as stated by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Sotiroula Charalambous (April 2010), shop employees should not work more than eight hours a day, with the total hours worked per week not exceeding 38. Overtime should not exceed two hours per day, and should not exceed a total of eight hours per week, and should be paid at double the hourly rate of normal employment for public holidays, Sundays and on agreed free mornings or afternoons. At other times overtime should be remunerated at 50 percent above the normal hourly rate.
If you are planning to set up a company/business in which you will be self employed, or if you plan on moving your existing company to Cyprus, you should seek out legal professionals to help you so that you avoid mistakes / problems later.