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BENEFICIARIES OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION STATUS

Applicants access to the job market is determined by decision of the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance, in agreement with the Minister of Interior.

During the first six months from the date of submission of the asylum application, asylum seekers are not entitled to work. After the 6-months period, the employment of the asylum seekers is allowed in the following sectors of economic activity:

S/N Industry fields Occupation
1 Agriculture - Agriculture Laborers
  Animal Husbandry - Animal Husbandry Laborers
  Fishery - Fishery Laborers
2 Manufacture - Forage Production Laborers
3 Waste Management - Drainage and Waste Processing Laborers
    - Garbage and Trash Collection & Processing Laborers
    - Recycling Laborers
    - Offal Processing Laborers
4 Wholesale Trade-Repairs - Gas Station and Car Wash Laborers
    - Freight Handlers of Wholesale Trade
5 Other Fields - Building and Outdoors Cleaners
    - Distributors of Advertising and Informative Material
    - Food Delivery

A company/employer willing to recruit an asylum seeker must be authorized to employ foreigners and a contract of employment must be stamped by the district Labor Office

In accordance to the amendment to Article 19 of the Refugee Law, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection have, as in the case of recognized refugees, immediate access to employment upon the date they are granted the aforesaid status. In particular there are no restrictions regarding their employment in particular sectors or occupations of the labour market. Also it is not necessary for the Labour Department to approve and stamp a contract of employment between an employer and a person with subsidiary protection status.

Section 21B of the Cyprus Refugee Law provides that the person who is recognized as a refugee receives equal treatment as the citizens of the Republic as regards wage- earning employment. In other words, refugees have the same rights as Cypriot citizens to employment, hence there are no restrictions to any particular sector and there is no need for the Labor Department to approve and stamp a contract of employment between an employer and a recognized refugee.

THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS

When moving to Cyprus for employment, third country nationals should apply in advance to the migration authorities in Cyprus for a work and residence permit. Upon registration with the authorities, an entry permit will be issued to the individual. This permit has a usual validity period. It is possible to renew a temporary work and residence permit by submitting the required documents two months before the permit’s expiration date.

Third Country Nationals may
– Apply visa on the grounds of employment contract.
– Apply for social insurance number
– The visa is renewable under specific grounds

Employers who wish to employ a third country national as a domestic worker, must search through EURES (European Employment Service), meaning they must advertise the post in the local press at a conspicuous place in at least two newspapers of mass circulation, as well as at the EURES for 3 weeks.

Third country nationals must proceed for registration at the appropriate District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police, or the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia, within 7 days from the date of the arrival. Biometric data such as finger prints and photo are collected.

To submit an application for an entry / residence permit for a third country national, the submission of an original bank guarantee (hereinafter "guarantee") may be required. The guarantee is submitted in order to cover the deportation expenses, if such a deportation is necessary due to the fact that the third country national is a prohibited immigrant.

The guarantee can be made at a commercial bank or cooperative institution and it is, in principle, a personal. There are some exceptions, such as students, where the guarantee may be a group guarantee.

The amount of the guarantee that should be submitted depends on the country of origin of the third country national, since the deportation costs (airfare, etc.) differ depending on the country to which the third country national will be returned. The amount of the required guarantee for each country of origin is available at the following link.

The bank guarantee should be valid for at least ten (10) years. In case of an application is submitted for the renewal of a residence permit, the submission of a new guarantee is not required, provided that the guarantee previously submitted is near expiration and that it covers the requested period of stay plus one (1) year. For students different requirements apply as the submission of a group guarantee is possible.

For the return of the bank guarantee deposited for the repatriation of the third country national, a written request should be submitted by the employer to the Civil Registry and Migration Department. The bank guarantee is returned only if the employee departs for his/her country or in case he/she is employed by another eligible employer, in which case the new employer is obliged to deposit a bank guarantee.

The bank guarantee is not returned in the following cases:
The employee has become illegal after the his/her permit was canceled
The employee submitted an application for asylum
The employee was sentenced for a criminal offense and subsequently, he/she is considered a prohibited immigrant
The employee abandoned his/her place of residence and work and he/she is missing and wanted for deportation purposes.

The maximum period of stay for third country nationals who work as domestic workers is 6 years (the initial permit is for 4 years +2 years for the renewal). The permit can be renewed after the 6th year, provided that the domestic worker is applying to work for the same employer.

Social insurance contributions are made by any individual employed or self-employed in Cyprus. An employer also makes contributions in respect of its employees equally. Employees are allowed to receive income from the social insurance fund during the following periods:

  1. Absence of leave (sick leave)
  2. Maternity Leave
  3. Physical Injury
  4. Pension

Important to note the employee has to fill in the Required Form and submit it to the responsible authority which is the ministry and all the related departments.

The minimum wage for third-country nationals who work as domestic workers is as from 01/07/2013 €460. A 15% for food, 10% for accommodation and 7.8% for social insurance is being deducted. The net wage is €309 per month. The health insurance of the employee is paid equally by both sides.

For a six-day work, a domestic employee is entitled to 24 days of annual leave.

According to the Organization of Working Time Law of 2002-2007, employees’ working time in any week may not exceed the 48 hours on average, including overtime. It is specified though, that more favorable arrangements arising from other Laws or Regulations, personal or collective agreements are not affected by the provisions of the above mentioned Law. Whether someone will work 38 or 40 hours or more a week is a matter governed by the applicable collective agreement or agreement between the two parties.

No more than 2 changes of employer are allowed during the 6-year employment of domestic workers (except in case of death/repatriation/ transfer of the employer in a nursing home, criminal offense by the employer against the third country citizen or after a decision of the Labour Disputes Committee in favor of the third country citizen). Change of employer is not allowed after 6 years of employment.

STUDENTS

According to a recent law, which follows a directive of the European Union, students who are nationals of third countries may now work in Cyprus, in paid economic activity, under certain conditions and for certain kinds of employment sectors. Students of recognized universities or university programmes are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, in specific occupations and specified sectors of economic activity. They must be full-time students of recognized universities or colleges (or of some additional registered colleges) and they must have spent at least six months of full-time study in Cyprus.

They must be treated equally with Cypriot workers. All minimum labour standards should be respected. The Ministry has prepared a standard contract of employment for use in this case. The standard contract is available at the District Labour Offices.

Occupations and economic activities covered are shown in detail in the Order issued by the Minister. Typical occupations included are the following:

  • petrol-station
  • car-wash
  • care givers for elderly
  • agriculture/farming, fishing
  • bakeries
  • fast-food delivery drivers

The main documents necessary for those wishing to work – and for their employers are the following:

  • a valid residence permit (with a date of at least six months)
  • an employment contract, signed by the two parties
  • a time-table of studies – which should not coincide with the working hours.

Students should first get a student permit from the Immigration Authorities. They should then sign a contract of employment, with an employer, and submit it to a District Employment Office for approval. The Employment Office will check the main conditions and if satisfied will approve the contract. The Law provides for punishment (fine or imprisonment) for those who violate its provisions.

The above is for general information purposes. For more details, see the Aliens and Immigration (Amendment) Law No. 184(I) of 2007 and the Order published on 18 December 2009, by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance.