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Work permits for third country nationals - employees at International Companies

Residence permits for third country nationals - employees at International Companies

Policy for international business companies in Cyprus.

Eligible companies

All companies of foreign interests, including international companies (ex-IBCs), in order to be eligible to employ third country nationals in Cyprus, should fulfil the following:

(a) (i) The majority of the company´s shareholders should be foreign shareholders and in the case of shareholders whose ultimate owners are foreign companies, they should be declared in order to be approved by the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD). The following cases are exempted:

  • Public companies registered in any recognized Stock Exchange,
  • International companies (ex IBCs) that were operating before the change of regime and for which the Central Bank of Cyprus possesses all the necessary data.

(ii) In case where the percentage of the foreign participation in the share capital of a company is equal or below the fifty percent (50%) of the total share capital, this percentage should represent an amount equal or higher than €171.000 in order for a company to be considered eligible.

(b) For new companies it should be proved by banking and other documents that the direct foreign capital investment amounts at least €171.000 and it was brought in Cyprus legally from abroad.

(c) The companies should operate from their self-contained offices in Cyprus, which should be located in suitable distinct premises, not part of private residence or another office, except form cases of companies that share lodging. Cases in which the nature of the work allows people to work from their home will be examined.

Employee Classification

Eligible companies which fulfil the above conditions may employ third country nationals in the following positions. Companies should not commit themselves to employing third country nationals for all the following positions before securing a Temporary Residence and Employment Permit form the CRMD. In case of violation of these rules, the CRMD is not committed by the following provisions.

(a)Executive Directors

The term Executive Directors includes third country nationals registered as:

  • Consulting Directors or Partners (in the Registrar of Companies)
  • General Managers of branches and subsidiary foreign companies
  • Departmental managers

The maximum number of such executives is five (5) unless the CRMD is persuaded that a greater number is justified.

The minimum acceptable total annual salary (annual salary plus any additional allowances/benefits) for a newly appointed Executive Director is €41.000.

There are no restrictions for the residence period of these employees.

(b) Middle-management staff, executive staff and any other key personnel

The abovementioned staff includes Directors who are not considered to be Executive Directors as well as other Executive/Middle-management staff or other managerial, clerical or technical personnel with an annual salary ranging from €21.000- €40.999.

The maximum number of these employees permitted in this category is 10. The CRMD has the discrete authority to decide on the employment of more than 10 people is justified, depending on each company´s operation data. In the case that the total maximum number is exceeded, the company should justify the necessity of the employment of third country nationals, taking into consideration the payments as well as:

i. The scope of the company´s activities
ii. The proportion of foreigners to Cypriots and
iii. The duration of the company´s operation

There are no restrictions for the residence period of these employees. 

(c) Supporting Staff

All third country nationals employed in other professional, managerial, technical, clerical etc. positions in Cyprus and do not fall under the abovementioned categories (a) and (b), are classified in the remaining supporting staff.

Companies are expected to employ Cypriots or European citizens for this category. In case that there are not available or suitable Cypriots or European citizens with the required qualifications, a company may employ third country nationals in positions of this category.