Working in Cyprus
The job market
What are your chances of getting a job?
This profile focuses on the Republic of Cyprus (southern part of Cyprus).
Although the recession had a large impact on Cyprus, the economy appears to be recovering. However, there are still serious challenges ahead. The unemployment rate is still relatively high, but has dropped significantly since the height of the recession.
As you'll be facing competition from Cypriot nationals, it's important to research the job market and the sector you're interested in so you have realistic expectations of where you might be able to find work. Opportunities are generally available in the tourism sector and for those with degrees in areas such as finance, telecommunications, electrical engineering and IT.
Employers typically expect you to have a basic knowledge of Greek and although English may be sufficient for some jobs, for example in the service industry or construction, it's worth learning some Greek before you go to improve your chances of finding work. Once in Cyprus, Greek lessons are provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture, universities and private language schools.
Where can you work?
- Major industries: the service sector, including a large tourism sector, light manufacturing, shipping (maritime sector) and real estate.
- Recent growth areas: professional and finance services, energy (particularly natural gas), investment fund sector.
- Major companies: Bank of Cyprus, Electricity Authority of Cyprus, Francoudi & Stephanou, METRO (supermarket), MTN Cyprus (telecommunications), PrimeTel (telecommunications), J&P (Joannou & Paraskevaides) (construction), KEO Ltd (beverage supplier), Total (French energy company) Universal Life (insurance).
What’s it like working in Cyprus?
- Average working hours: generally 38 to 40 hours a week. The number of working hours for a five-day week should not exceed 48 hours per week, including overtime.
- Holidays: typically 20 days a year if you work a five-day week or 24 days if you work a six-day week. There are typically 14 public holidays each year.
- Tax rates: income tax has to be paid if you live in Cyprus for more than 183 days of the tax year. Tax is paid on annual incomes of more than €19,500 in incremental stages. The tax rate is 20% for incomes of €19,501 to €28,000, 25% for €28,001 to €36,300, 30% for €36,301 to €60,000 and 35% for incomes over €60,000. Don't forget to check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to ensure that you are not losing any UK pension rights.
Applying for jobs
You don't need to be in Cyprus to apply for jobs. However, personal contacts and networking are important throughout Cyprus so it might be useful to be in the country to find opportunities. Once in Cyprus, you can visit your local public employment service, located in all the major towns, to look for jobs and get advice.
Speculative applications using a targeted CV and covering letter are generally accepted and making personal contact with employers is common. Some employers accept CVs all year round so that they can recruit as and when necessary.
Application methods are similar to those used in the UK, with many companies asking for a CV and covering letter, which include details of your academic or professional qualifications and experience, as well as personal information. Get more applications and CV advice.
Interviews may consist of two or three stages and may involve written or practical tests as well as assessment centres. Make sure you show your knowledge of the job sector in Cyprus during your interview. If you don't speak Greek, interviews will usually be carried out in English.
Will your UK qualifications be recognised?
Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), UK qualifications are usually recognised by an employer.
- Cyprus Jobs – vacancies in English
- Cyprus Public Employment Service – vacancies in Greek or English
- Cyprus Recruiter – vacancies in Greek or English
- Eurograduate – the European Career Guide
- EURES – European Job Mobility Portal
- European Researchers Mobility Portal (Euraxess)
There are a number of private recruitment agencies in Cyprus. See the Cyprus Human Resources Management Association (CyHRMA) website for a list of their member organisations. You can also search the Cyprus Yellow Pages.
- Cyprus Mail (English language)
- Financial Mirror (English language)
- In-Cyprus (English language – online version of the Cyprus Weekly newspaper)
The Cyprus Public Employment Service can help EU citizens to find work through its regional public employment services. Information about companies is also available via the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.
Networking is a common way of finding work, and establishing good contacts is useful.
Getting work experience
Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014 to 2020 and covers student exchange, work experience and volunteering opportunities. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can study abroad for 3 to 12 months. Erasmus+ also provides opportunities for work experience for students to learn new skills or languages, as well as volunteering in different countries for between 2 weeks and 12 months.
Work placements and internships
Students on technical degrees (primarily science, engineering, technology and the applied arts) can undertake paid course-related training in a range of countries, including Cyprus, via IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience). Opportunities are available to students in their second year of study or above. Although the majority of traineeships take place over the summer, longer periods are also available.
There are opportunities for bilingual teachers (Greek and English) to teach bilingual classes, as well as TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) jobs for English only speakers to teach those with limited English skills. Opportunities are available at foreign language schools and summer camps. A list of English language schools in Cyprus is available on ESL Base.
Casual work opportunities exist in the tourist areas throughout Cyprus in hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars and are mainly available throughout the summer months. Most of these jobs can be found by asking employers in person or by searching in local newspapers and at regional labour offices.
Gap year and volunteering opportunities
Few structured gap year programmes are advertised in Cyprus. Search on general gap year websites to find opportunities or try to make your own arrangements with temporary work.
Do you need a visa?
EU citizens don't need a visa to enter or work in Cyprus. However, if you plan to stay in Cyprus for more than three months you will need to apply for a registration certificate from the Census Records and Migration Department within four months of arrival. There will be a one-off charge for this but the permit won't need to be renewed.
You will need to prove that you have employment or can support yourself financially in order to get a registration certificate.
If you're from a non-EU country, contact the Cypriot embassy in the country where you're currently living for information on whether you require a visa or work permit. If you're living in the UK, go to the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus.
How do you become a permanent resident?
You are eligible to apply for a permanent registration certificate in Cyprus if you have resided in the country for at least five consecutive years. More information is available from the Ministry of the Interior, Cyprus.
Living in Cyprus
- Cost of living: fairly similar to other European countries. Nicosia is regarded as the most expensive city on the island.
- Internet domain: .cy
- Currency: Euro (€) (Turkish lira used in Northern Cyprus).
- Health: health standards are similar to those in the rest of the EU. Medical care is provided by government medical services (free or at reduced costs for certain groups of people) and by the private medical sector. Make sure you have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before going to work in Cyprus (doesn't include Northern Cyprus). This entitles you to receive essential medical care in state hospitals.
- Type of government: the Republic of Cyprus (southern part of Cyprus) is a presidential democracy headed by a Greek Cypriot president and is a full member of the EU. The northern part is administered by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (self-declared) and is a semi-presidential democracy led by a Turkish Cypriot president, but is only recognised by Turkey.
- Laws and customs: Cyprus enforces a zero tolerance policy on drugs, which is stricter than rules on drugs in the UK. As Cyprus is divided, ensure you don't cause any misunderstandings and are sensitive to military and political issues. For example, don't photograph or loiter near command posts or barracks. Homosexuality is legal in the Republic of Cyprus but public displays of affection by same-sex couples are not as common as in the UK. In the north of Cyprus, homosexuality was decriminalised in January 2014.
- Emergency numbers: the police, ambulance and fire service can be contacted by telephoning 112. The British High Commission in Cyprus can provide British nationals with help and assistance in a variety of emergency situations.
- People: Greek 80.1%, Turkish 10.9%, other 9%.
- Major religion: Christianity, Islam.