CMCY | Temporary Residence and Employment permits for Non- EU citizens in the Republic of Cyprus (BCS)
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Temporary Residence and Employment permits for Non- EU citizens in the Republic of Cyprus (BCS)

Temporary Residence and Employment permits for Non- EU citizens in the Republic of Cyprus (BCS)

The Council of Ministers, has issued a Decision dated 7.10.2020, where is has reviewed the policy regarding the issuance of temporary residence and employment permits of third country national in the Republic of Cyprus, regarding 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.

The Decision replaces any previous relevant Decisions of the Council of Ministers such as the one dated 29.11.2006.

One of the key reasons for amending the current decision, it is the provision of the possibility of employing a higher number of third country nationals of specific professions and / or skills, for which there is a significant shortage of supply at national level, without a prior labor market test and taking into account the companies’ annual turnover.

The current Decision of the Council of Ministers sets 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 per category.

Eligible Companies

Non-EU citizens who wish to obtain a work / employment permit in the Republic of Cyprus must be employed by a Company who is eligible to employ third country nationals.

Companies of foreign interests must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible to employ third country nationals in Cyprus:

Criterion 1:

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 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.

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.

Criterion 2:

The ultimate beneficial owner must invest at least € 200.000 in Cyprus, for the purposes of operating the company. This funds must be transferred from the UBO’s account from abroad to the account of the Cy Company.

This requirement applies ONLY 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.

Criterion 3:

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.

Staff Categories

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

Category 1 – Directors:

In this 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
  • Project Managers

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:

  • Upper / middle management personnel,
  • Other administrative, secretarial or technical staff

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:

# 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
6 Data scientists
7 Machine Learning Engineers
8 Web Developers and designers
9 UX User Experience Professionals
10 Quantitative Analysts
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
25 Marine Engineers
26 Naval Architects

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 which are not included in the above categories, their 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.

# Staff Category Maximum allowed number
1 Directors 5
2 Middle management executives and other key personnel 10
3 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.

4 Support Staff 30% of the total staff (will be reviewed by the Department of Labour during the labor market test).

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.

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 documents necessary for the registration of the Company are the following:
  1. Original Certificate of Incorporation
  2. Original Certificate of Registered Office
  3. Original Certificate of Directors
  4. Original Certificate of Shareholders that proves that the percentage of the foreign contribution in the share capital is over 50% of the whole. In case the shareholders are composed of foreign companies, the whole chain of ownership should be exhibited (along with the applicable original supportive documents e.g shareholders’ certificates) including the latest owners that must be natural persons.
  5. Memorandum and Articles of Association

>  All of the above must be Originals and Stamped by the Registrar of Companies.

  1. List with the names, full addresses, passport numbers and nationality of the initial shareholders of the applying company. Companies registered in any recognized Stock Exchange and International Companies, which were operating before the change of regime, and for which the Central Bank of Cyprus possesses all necessary data do not require this.
  2. Financial statements of the Company
  3. Payment of the Company’s tax for each year (annual levy)
  4. Tax clearance certificate
  5. Statement that the Company have not employed any aliens / non EU in the past
  6. List of Company’s personnel (applicants and employees)
  7. Domicile deed title of lease agreement or contract of sale and purchase of the offices in Cyprus
  8. Deposited amount of €200,000 which, can be proved with relevant banking and other documents (SWIFT) that the direct foreign capital investments amounts at least €200.000 and it was legally transferred to Cyprus from abroad. If the investment is not made by the ultimate beneficial owner the relationship between the investor and the beneficial owner must be proved.
  9. Recent bank account statement with available balance of at least €41.006 and bank statement that amount came from abroad
  10. Affidavit regarding the proprietorship of the Company by its Directors
  11. Copy of passport (valid) of the final beneficiaries
  12. Profile describing the nature of the company’s business and details of its operations
  • The documents necessary for the registration of the employee
  1. Copy of valid passport or other travel document with validity of at least two (2) years from the date of the submission of the application.
  2. Copy of the passport’s or other travel document’s page showing the latest arrival in the Republic and visa (if applicable)
  3. List of Company´s third country personnel per category [Directors and Middle Management Staff /Key Personnel]
  4. Brief Curriculum Vitae (CV) (including copies of academic qualifications and / or relevant professional experience of at least one year)
  5. Responsible declaration of coverage of removal costs.
  6. Original blood analysis results showing that the third country national does not bear/suffer from HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C and a chest x-rays for tuberculosis (TB) from a Government Hospital of the Republic or duly certified by a Government Doctor of the Republic
  7. Original contract of employment dully signed and two (2) copies dully stamped
  8. Title deed or rental agreement of a house/apartment dully certified by the relevant president of the community (mukhtar)
  9. Certificate of Health Insurance for medical care that covers inpatient and outpatient care and transportation of corpse (Plan A)
  10. Employer´s liability insurance with an automatic renewal
  11. Original Certificate of Criminal Record from the country of origin (if the applicant resides in a country other than the country of origin, the certificate should be issued from the country of residence)
  12. Receipt of payment of the annual company fee to the Registrar of Companies
  13. Authorization for payment by bank transfer (FIMAS)
  14. Diplomas including copies of all academic qualifications (translated in English)
  • Important notes:
  • A foreign direct investment of capital amounting to at least € 200,000, must be legally transferred to Cyprus from abroad. This should be proved by appropriate bank and other documents (swift), explaining the relation between the sender and receiver. This requirement applies ONLY to companies which shall employ staff/employees from third countries for the first time.
  • The ultimate beneficial owner must invest at least € 200.000 in Cyprus, for the purposes of operating the company. This funds must be transferred from the UBO’s account from abroad to the account of the Cy Company. If the investment is not made by the ultimate beneficial owner the relationship between the investor and the beneficial owner must be proved.
  • The Cyprus company must have a bank account in Cyprus
  • The employees must have such a diploma which corresponds to the activities and duties performed under the company.
  • Criminal record certificate should not exceed 4 months from the date of issuance

For more information on how to apply and obtain a Residence and Employment permit in Cyprus, you may contact us at info@cmcylaw.com or +35725255059

Note: The above article does not constitute a legal advice and may not be relied upon for such purposes. Readers are recommended to take appropriate legal advice on the above subject matter.