Work & Residence Permits
The Republic of Cyprus secures equal treatment between foreign workers and local personnel through its Constitution, Article 28(2), which guarantees the protection of human rights regardless race, religion or ethnic origin. Moreover, the Cyprus Government has also ratified several International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, as well as the Article 19 of the Revised European Social Charter i.e. the right of the migrant workers and their families to protection and assistance. These instruments provide, inter alia, for no less favourable treatment for incoming workers than that of nationals.
Decisions of the Council of Ministers as well as a number of administrative arrangements also exist to promote and guarantee that migrant workers are at least treated equally with nationals in respect to, among other things, terms and conditions of employment. The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance safeguards the equal treatment between foreign workers and local personnel through written contracts of employment signed by both the employer and the foreign employee. These contracts contain all terms and conditions of employment (hours of work, salary and other benefits, holidays, overtime pay, duties etc.), which also apply for Cypriot employees, mainly on the basis of collective agreements.
Employment of EU nationals
As from 1st May 2004, nationals from EU member states (including European Economic Area countries and Switzerland) can work in Cyprus without restrictions. However, they will need a residence permit if they intend to stay longer than 3 months and take up employment in Cyprus. They must apply for such a residence permit to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, as soon as they secure employment and in any case before the expiration of this 3-month period.
EU nationals working in Cyprus have the same rights as Cypriot nationals with regard to pay, working conditions, access to housing, vocational training, social security and trade union membership. Family and relatives, who are dependent on them such as children, have similar rights.
Employment of Third-Country Nationals
The Department of Labour examines applications for the employment of third-country nationals for the satisfaction of pressing, short term needs in the labour market, in certain economic fields and occupations, according to the Council of Ministers’ decision No. 33.210 dated 15/3/1990.
Considering Cyprus’ employment policy, priority is given to the employment of Cypriot or EU citizens. An employment permit is granted only on a temporary basis and for a specified position, provided that no suitably qualified Cypriot or EU citizens are available. It should be noted that this action takes place while foreign nationals are outside Cyprus.
Foreign nationals seeking employment in Cyprus must secure through personal efforts a local employer who should submit an application to the Director of Civil Registry and Migration Department, Ministry of Interior, who is the competent authority for the issue of such permits. The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance acts as an advisor to the Director of Civil Registry and Migration Department as regards the situation in the labour market and the compliance by the abovementioned employer with the criteria regulating the employment of aliens.