Work in Cyprus: benefits, requirements and skills shortages
Updated 28 March 2023
If moving to a different country to escape rainy and winter weather is your goal, then one attractive destination you might consider is Cyprus. Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea known for its natural beauty and climate. Learning about the country's job market and entry requirements may help you decide if it's a destination for you. In this article, we discuss what it's like to work in Cyprus, list its skill shortages and share how you can explain your qualifications to Cypriot employers.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Why work in Cyprus?
If you decide to work in Cyprus, the job market is characterised by relatively low unemployment rates, in which foreigners make up almost a quarter of the population, as Eurostat reports. Here's why you may want to relocate to Cyprus:
Labour market stability
According to the European Commission, the Cypriot economy continued to grow in the first half of 2021 as a response to the 2020 recession that the world experienced. In March 2022, the unemployment rate in Cyprus was only 6.5%, which is similar to current EU unemployment, which was 6.1% in January 2023.
According to official government agencies from countries like the UK and Canada, Cyprus is a safe country with a fully operational emergency services network. On the island, crime against tourists is uncommon. In addition, the country has a zero tolerance towards drugs, which makes it an attractive destination for expats who want to relocate there with their families.
Cypriot employees receive healthcare benefits based on the contributions they make plus the payments that the state makes to the General Healthcare System (GHS), which is the country's national health service. The health care system covers services like laboratory tests, doctor visits, ambulance services, preventive dental services or pharmaceutical products. The country also offers citizens long-term social care, disability allowance, employment accident benefits, sickness benefits or child and single-parent benefits. For example, a family with two children may receive €345–€570 in annual benefits, and the final number is based on the family's annual income.
In addition, the country offers parental allowance, childbirth grants and special childbirth grants for single parents. Employees qualify for maternity allowance as long as they have valid insurance and continue receiving it for 18 weeks. A paternity allowance allows employees to receive money from the government for a period of two weeks. When it comes to the childbirth grant, it's a one-time payment, which was €580.92 in 2022.
Annual leave and days off
According to the Department of Labour Relations in Cyprus, employees have at least four weeks of annual leave. People who work five days per week receive at least 20 working days off and those who work six days per week, at least 24 days per year. If an employee's employment terminates before they use their leave, the employer may substitute the leave with monetary compensation. In some organisations, annual leave may accumulate for up to two years. In addition to the statutory annual leave, Cyprus has 15 public holidays each year. This includes days like New Year's, Christmas and Independence Day.
Historically, Cyprus has always had a lot of seasonal work available to foreigners. Cypriot and EU institutions regularly publish data about available jobs and occupation shortages in the country. As of February 2022, occupation shortages for lower education level employees were in the following areas:
warehouse and transportation employees
hospitality, including kitchen, hotel and restaurant employees
infant nurses and care employees
salespeople and cashiers
The list looks different for highly skilled and experienced candidates. Those with higher education levels may take advantage of shortages in the following professions:
technical services consultant
nurses, physicians and specialist medical staff
economists and business managers
executives of shipping companies
finance and accounting specialists
medical centre, laboratory and paramedical centre employees
Cyprus is a member of the EU, which means that it's mandatory for British nationals travelling to that island to have a valid passport. After arrival, they can stay in the country for up to 90 days in any 180-period without a visa, including attending business meetings or undergoing short-term training. If you plan to stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days at once or want to relocate there permanently, contact the Republic of Cyprus High Commission to determine what type of visa or permit you require.
If you're a non-EU citizen, an example visa you may consider is a one-year work permit. To qualify, it's necessary to find an employer who's willing to support your application. As an entrepreneur or freelancer, you may do this by finding a solicitor who can provide proof of your situation and back up your visa application. If you're an EU citizen, no work permit is necessary, and you may start working as soon as you secure a job in Cyprus.
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The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. As an English speaker, travelling and relocating to Cyprus may be comfortable for you, as many Cypriots speak conversational or even fluent English. Learning some Greek is advisable, as it may help you find more attractive job offers with local employers. It also helps with adjusting to your new environment and socialising.
After living in Cyprus for some time, your goal may be to apply for Cypriot citizenship. As of March 2023, Cypriot passports are inclusive, which means that you may submit your application in Greek, Turkish or English. This might change in the future, as the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Cyprus had an idea to make it mandatory for foreigners applying for citizenship to know Greek at the B1 level.
Getting a job
Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists, which makes it a great place for seasonal employees in industries like retail and hospitality. To secure a seasonal job, contact local work agencies that have connections with Cypriot employers. If you're looking for a permanent position, securing a job before relocating is the ideal situation, as that way, your new employer may support your visa application. It's also advisable that you consider contacting people from your professional network to learn about interesting openings on the island, as word-of-mouth is a great way to learn about vacancies which employers haven't yet posted online.
If you want to travel to Cyprus for a few months to see what it's like living there, you may also consider pursuing a short-term job as an English teacher or native speaker. Because the country is popular amongst expats, the language industry may be competitive, but there are always jobs available at private language schools for people with at least one year of teaching experience. To improve your chances of getting a teaching job, consider obtaining a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification, like the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA).
Explaining your qualifications
The Cypriot schooling system is similar to education in the UK and other European countries. This is thanks to the Bologna Process, an initiative whose goal is to bring more coherence into the higher education systems across Europe. As a result of the countries signing the declaration, Cypriot employers are likely to automatically recognise and approve your degree or higher education diploma. Providing additional proof of qualifications may be a requirement if you work in a highly specialised profession, like nursing or law, but this may also vary based on each employer's requirements.
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