New Incentives for Companies Operating in Cyprus

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New Incentives for Companies Operating in Cyprus: Streamlined Processes and Fast-Track Work Permits Through the Business Facilitation Unit

The Council of Ministers has approved new incentives to attract companies to operate in Cyprus and to enable existing companies to further expand their activities in the country. Effective January 1, 2022, the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry has established a “Business Facilitation Unit” (BFU) to serve as a single point of contact between eligible companies and relevant Cypriot authorities.

The BFU aims to process requests from eligible companies quickly and efficiently. One of its responsibilities is to facilitate the issuance of work permits for third-country nationals. Eligible companies can register with the BFU as “foreign companies” efficiently. Once registered, these companies can submit applications for work permits for their highly skilled employees from third countries.

The primary benefit of registering with the BFU as a foreign company is the ability to employ highly skilled third-country nationals through a fast-track process. This process allows companies to apply for work permits directly with the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD), bypassing the lengthy approval procedures typically handled by the Department of Labor.

Eligibility Criteria for Registration with the BFU as a Foreign Company

  1. Eligible businesses must meet one of the following conditions:
    • The majority of the company’s shares (i.e., more than 50%) must be owned by third-country nationals.
      • If the foreign share in the company’s capital is 50% or less, the company can still qualify if the foreign participation amounts to at least €200,000.
    • Public companies listed on any recognized Stock Exchange.
    • Companies previously registered with the Central Bank as “offshore” entities.
    • Cypriot shipping companies.
    • Cypriot high-tech/innovation companies.
    • Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or those active in biogenetics and biotechnology.
    • Companies where the majority of the share capital is owned by individuals who obtained Cypriot citizenship through naturalization based on economic criteria, provided they still meet the naturalization conditions.
  2. Eligible businesses must have offices in Cyprus:
    • They must operate from independent offices in Cyprus, separate from any private housing or other offices, except in the case of business co-habitation.

Work Permits for Third Country Nationals

Once registered with the BFU, the company will receive written confirmation and can then proceed with work permit applications for its highly skilled employees through the CRMD.

Main Requirements:

  • Minimum gross salary of €2,500 per month.
  • The employee must hold a university degree, diploma, or have relevant experience in a corresponding position for at least two years.
  • Employment contracts must be for at least two years.
  • Work permits should be issued within one month of submitting a complete application and are valid for three years.

Important Note:

The maximum number of third-country nationals a foreign company can employ is capped at 70% of the total number of employees. This limit must be met within five years from January 1, 2022, with the first evaluation on January 1, 2027.

Family Reunification Process

Family members of third-country nationals employed by foreign companies can also apply for residence permits in Cyprus through the family reunification process. Spouses of these third-country nationals will have the right to access Cyprus’s labor market for paid employment.

How Michalaki, Pitsillidou & Co LLC Can Assist

Michalaki, Pitsillidou & Co LLC has a specialized immigration team that assists companies in registering with the BFU to employ highly skilled third-country nationals. Additionally, our team provides tailored assistance in preparing and filing work permit applications and residence permit applications for these employees and their family members.

For more information, feel free to call us at +35799345000 or email us at info@impklawyers.com.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. For more detailed information and personal legal guidance, please contact us.


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