Cyprus residence and work permits – Companies with Foreign Interest

Shanda Consult Ltd, August 22, 2018

Cyprus residence and work permits – Companies with Foreign Interest
Cyprus companies with non-EU shareholders that provided a paid-up capital of the company of minimum EUR 171.000 can employ up to 15 non-EU persons in upper and middle management positions, with residence and work permits issued by the Cyprus authorities.
Family members can join by way of family reunification.

The Republic of Cyprus wishes to encourage international businesses to set up their headquarters of regional headquarters in Cyprus or to engage in substantial local businesses.
EU businesses easily relocate to Cyprus or set up business in Cyprus and are free to employ staff from their EU home countries, thanks to the EU Freedom of Movement.
Non-EU businesses may also smoothly set up their business in Cyprus, but staff from their non-EU home companies can normally not be relocated to Cyprus so easily.
Therefore, Cyprus provides for special residence and work permits for non-EU staff of so-called “Companies with Foreign Interest”.
What are “Companies with foreign interest”?

Cyprus companies with foreign interest are companies duly incorporated in the Republic of Cyprus, with the majority of shares held by non-EU nationals, representing a paid-up capital of minimum EUR 171.000, which must have been paid to the accounts of the company directly from outside of Cyprus.

Cyprus companies with foreign interest may be 100% owned by non-EU nationals.

Cyprus public companies are excluded from these provisions.

Examples:

- A Cyprus company which has only non-EU nationals shareholders and which has a paid-up capital of EUR 200.000, does qualify for the “Company with Foreign Interest” status because the majority of shareholders (in this case, all shareholders) are non-EU nationals and the paid-up capital is more than the threshold of EUR 171.000.
- A Cyprus company where the paid-up capital is EUR 320.000 and 55% of its shareholders are non-EU nationals does qualify for the “Company with Foreign Interest” status, because the majority of shareholders (in this case, 55%) is non-EU nationals and the paid-up capital represented by their shares is more than the threshold of EUR 171.000, namely it is EUR 176.000.

If the non-EU shareholder(s) of a Cyprus company is a company or are companies outside the EU, the above-mentioned minimum shareholding and threshold of paid-up capital applies to the beneficial owners.

A Cyprus company with foreign interest must be able to proof that the company operates from suitable premises (offices or industrial premises) that cannot be part of private residences. Co-working places or shared offices are eligible. If the nature of the company’s business allows staff to work from their home and an office would not be needed, such cases will be evaluated individually and may enjoy approval.

Before a Cyprus company of foreign interest is allowed to employ non-EU nationals, the company must be approved as a company of foreign interest by the Migration Department.

What category of non-EU staff is entitled to receive Cyprus residence and work permits in this context?

Based on the special provisions for Cyprus companies with foreign interest, the following categories of staff are entitled to receive Cyprus residence and work permits:

Upper management staff:

Directors or shareholders registered as such in the Registrar of Companies;
General managers of branches and of mother companies of non-EU companies;
Department Managers;
Maximum 5 non-EU nationals can be granted a residence and work permit under this category.

Middle management staff:

Executive directors, other than the directors mentioned above;
Non-executive directors;
Other managerial staff;
Clerical and technical personnel.
Maximum 10 non-EU nationals can be granted a residence and work permit under this category.

Supporting staff

For staff that does not fall under the above two categories, the company with foreign interest is expected to employ Cypriots or EU nationals.
Exemptions may apply if comparable Cypriot and EU staff is not available on the labour market and the Labour Office approved employment of non-EU staff. In this case, residence and work permit will be granted to non-EU national staff of companies with foreign interest.

Please contact us for details, if you are interested.

Which conditions apply for the granting of residence and work permits for non-EU nationals as staff of Cyprus companies with foreign interest?

For upper management staff:

- Minimum monthly salary of gross EUR 3.872,00.

For middle management staff:

- Minimum monthly salary of gross EUR 1.936,00.

For staff of any of the categories, mainly:
- Clean criminal record certificate from the home country of the staff member, officially translated to English, if not issued in English;
- Various original medical certificates (tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, syphilis), confirming that the person is clean of said illnesses;
- Bank guarantee in favour of the Migration Department (EUR 340,00 for Middle East nationals, EUR 550,00 for East European nationals, EUR 855,00 for nationals from Asia and the Americas);
- Secured Cyprus entry permit for the first entry to Cyprus;
- Employment contract.

After the above conditions are met, an application may be filed with the Migration Department for the first temporary residence and work permit. This application must be filed within 7 days from the arrival of the non-EU national in Cyprus.

Residence and work permits are issued as per the employment contract’s term, but max. for 2 years, with the right to renew the permit. Staff of the upper and the middle management as described above may reside in Cyprus without a time limit, as long as they possess a valid residence and work permit.
Family members

Staff of the upper and the middle management as described above with a valid residence and work permit may exercise their right of family reunification. In such a case, non-EU nationals who are family members (spouse and minor children) can enter and reside in Cyprus after the staff member has followed the procedure for family reunification.

For family members (spouse and dependent children) who temporarily do not qualify for family reunification (e.g. because of the duration of the passport or the duration of the marriage), temporary residence permits of Dependent Visitor may be issued. These family members can enter via a visa and then apply to the Department for obtaining a temporary residence permit.
Summary of procedure for Cyprus residence and work permit for companies with foreign interest

Below is a brief summary of the necessary steps to be followed. Each step below includes certain details that need to be regarded.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for detailed consulting. Apart from our consulting, we will be happy to assist and to carry out all below steps, from company incorporation, assisting in finding and fixing an office, preparing, submitting and following up all necessary applications until approvals are obtained, and more.
1. Incorporate a company in Cyprus with a minimum of EUR 171.000 authorised capital that represents the majority of the company’s shares.
2. Open a bank account for the company and pay the required capital to the company.
3. Apply for and receive the company of foreign interest status for the company.
4. Apply for and receive Cyprus entry permit for the first entry of staff under these provisions.
5. Apply for and receive residence and work permit.
6. Apply for and receive permits for family reunification.

Shanda Consult is experienced in services regarding setup, localisation and relocation of businesses and staff members.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.


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