The Council of Ministers, with its Decision of 7.10.2020, 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.
If you are aware of the current policy for companies of foreign interests, you can follow the steps below for the preparation of the application and documents to be attached to it. If you are interested in further information on the policy in place, please read first the paragraphs following the steps below.
Follow the link below and study the content of the page.
Follow the link below that corresponds to the category of staff you are interested in.
Download the documents on your computer.
Print the documents you downloaded. From the list of accompanying documents, choose the one that meets your needs, depending on which permit/ permits you will apply for.
After studying the list of accompanying documents for both the company's suitability and for obtaining a permit, collect the documents you need to submit.
(Attention to the documents that need to be submitted in their original form and duly validated/ certified. You can learn more in the validation of documents, here).
Attention, also, to the documents required to be collected by other Departments/ Services and documentation that may be required from abroad, since requisition in such cases may take time!
Fill in and sign any other forms that may have to accompany the application.
Fill in all the fields of the application form and sign it. Beware of the parts requiring signatures from third parties.
Submit the application and the documents to the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
It is emphasised that at the time of the application submission, the photograph, fingerprints and signature of third country national will be captured by authorised personnel. For convenience purposes, the capturing of the above may take place up to one (1) week after the submission of the application, at the District Units of the Aliens and Immigration Service of the Police, at the District of residence (for all Districts except Nicosia) by presenting the application submission receipt and a valid travel document. The application is not considered complete and cannot be processed further if these data is not captured.
Companies of foreign interests must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible to employ third country nationals in Cyprus:
Third country shareholders should own the majority of the company's shares. The following cases are excluded:
- For information on the general application process for registration and obtaining a residence permit click here
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.
The ultimate beneficial owner must invest at least € 200.000 in Cyprus, for the purposes of operating the company.
This requirement only applies to companies which will employ staff from third countries for the first time.
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, in order for the Company to be considered eligible, this percentage must represent an amount equal to or greater than the amount of € 200.000.
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.
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.
Category 1 - Directors:
In this category the following third-country nationals are included:
The minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for Directors is €4.000, an amount that may be adjusted from time to time, depending on fluctuations in the wage index.
Category 2 - Middle management executives and other key personnel:
In this category the following third country nationals are included:
- 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 their offshore status.
- Cypriot shipping companies.
- Cypriot companies of high technology / innovation, that will be certified by the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy based on the applicable framework.
- Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or companies operating in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology.
- Persons who have acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalization based on economic criteria, given that they will prove that the conditions under which they were naturalized are still met.
The minimum acceptable gross monthly salary for this category is €2.000. Amounts may be adjusted from time to time, depending on wage index fluctuations.
Category 3 - Specialists:
Companies are entitled to employ third country nationals in professions / with skills as listed in Table 1 below:
- Upper / middle management personnel,
- Other administrative, secretarial or technical staff
The minimum acceptable gross monthly earnings for Specialists is €2.000, an amount that can be adjusted from time to time, depending on fluctuations in the wage index.
Companies already registered in the Register of Foreign Companies of the Civil Registry and Migration Department can automatically benefit from the Policy for employment of third country nationals in the Specialists’ category.
Category 4 - 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 at a rate of 30% of the total staff.
For this category, the General Employment procedure is followed, by submitting the certificates / supporting documents described in the relevant list of accompanying documents, after securing the positive recommendation (sealed employment contract) of the Department of Labor, which, for the granting of its positive recommendation, considers the above percentage.
The market test is not necessary for third country nationals with free access to the labour market.
Maximum number of third country employees per staff category
|#||Professions / Skills|
|1||Software and System Engineers|
|2||Application and Data Architects|
|3||Information and Communication Technology and Enterprise Solution Architects|
|4||Technical Assurance Professionals|
|5||Telecom and Space Engineers|
|7||Machine Learning Engineers|
|8||Web Developers and designers|
|9||UX User Experience Professionals|
|11||Quality Assurance Analysts|
|12||Mobile Application Developers |
|13||Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality Programmers |
|14||Digital Marketing Specialists|
|15||Video Production Multimedia Specialists for Mobile Apps and Software |
|16||Analysts for Mobile Apps and Software|
|17||Designers of Prototype for Mobile Devices |
|18||DevOps Engineers |
|19||Cyber Security Specialists|
|20||Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Big Data Specialists|
|21||Pharmaceutical Formulation Technologists|
|22||Pharmaceutical Engineer Validation Specialists|
|23||Pharmaceutical Patents Specialists|
|24||Pharmaceutical Regulatory and Quality Assurance Professionals |
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:
|Staff Category||Maximum allowed number|
|Middle management executives and other key personnel||10|
|Specialists||Based on annual turnover*
≤1 million: 5
>€1 – €3 millions: 10
>€3 – €5 millions: 20
>€5 – €10 millions: 30
>€10 – €20 millions: 50
>€20 – €30 millions:100
>€30 millions: 200
* 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 of the company's abroad. This will be valid for the first two years of operations in Cyprus. Following the first two years, the annual turnover of the company in Cyprus will be taken into account.
|Support Staff||30% of the total staff (will be reviewed by the Department of Labour during the labor market test). |
In order to exceed the limit of more than 300 third country nationals employed in categories 1-3 above, the consent of the Council of Ministers is required.
It is stressed that the requests should only concern specific persons whose employment is considered necessary by the company. General requests on the matter cannot be considered.
- The company’s turnover
- The ratio of third country employees to Cypriots / EU Nationals and
- The company's operating time in Cyprus.
Conditions for third country nationals
A third country national must fulfil the conditions laid down by the legislation (Articles 18ΥΔ to 18ΦΖ of the Aliens and Immigration Law - Cap. 105 as amended until today. See pages 831-842 of the Official Gazette), on the employment of third country in the Republic.
For facilitating applicants, the lists of supporting documents include all documents that need to be provided in order to prove compliance with the legislation conditions.
Entering the Republic of Cyprus
Third country nationals falling under staff categories 1-3, can enter the Republic for the purpose of employment at company of foreign interests either by obtaining:
For third country nationals falling under staff category 4, entry is only allowed through an entry permit.
- 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 click here.
Required Actions After Arrival
Within seven (7) days after the arrival of the third-country national in Cyprus, he/ she 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, he/ she must, within the aforementioned period, apply to the Department for a temporary residence and employment permit, according to the legislation in force. Examination times can be found here.The residence permit is issued in a card form.
Validity of Temporary Residence and Employment Permit
Where the conditions foreseen in the law are met, the third country national is granted a temporary residence and employment permit. The validity of the permit depends on the duration of the employment contract and can be up to two (2) years, with a right of renewal. Directors, Middle management executives and other key personnel as well as Specialists (Staff categories 1-3) may reside in the Republic without a time limit, provided they hold a valid temporary residence and employment permit.
For support staff, the restrictions applicable to the general employment of third country nationals in the Republic apply.
Change of Employer
Employees at a company of foreign interests can change employer and work in a different company of foreign interests, regardless of their duration of stay in Cyprus, provided that:
- they have found employment within one (1) month from the termination of their previous employment,
- the general conditions laid down by the legislation in force, regarding employment of third country nationals, are met.
- the company of foreign interests that will employ them is a beneficiary company, based on the criteria set out by the Council of Ministers (see above).
Employees that wish to change employer and work for an employer who is not a company of foreign interests are allowed to do so, provided that maximum stay in the Republic for purposes of general employment has not been reached.
Third country 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 and minor children), provided that the relevant conditions of the Aliens and Immigration Law, Cap.105 as amended, are met.
In such cases, 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. For the application and the documents to be attached, click here. For filling in the application form and preparing the documents to be attached, follow the same steps as described above.