Finding a job in Cyprus can be difficult, but the country’s reasonable cost of living is just one perk on offer to those who do manage to secure work there
The Mediterranean’s third-largest island offers a stunning blend of European, Asian and African cultures. It’s an amazing hotbed of natural beauty, and home to significant ancient sites of Greek, Byzantine, Crusader and Islamic history.
Cyprus’s recent economic crisis created unprecedented levels of unemployment. In Q1 of 2014, 42% of under 25s were without work. Fortunately, the Cypriot job market is improving.
Four-fifths work in the service sector, while tourism, shipping and maritime trade also creates many graduate jobs in Cyprus. The country’s exploitation of natural gas supplies, plus its interest in renewable energy and green technology, is predicted to lead to major foreign investment. The following job roles are highly sought-after:
- accountants and finance professionals;
- agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers;
- bakers, pastry cooks and confectionery makers;
- construction, manufacturing, mining and transport labourers;
- domestic cleaners and helpers;
- economists, business managers and marketing executives;
- electrical engineers;
- hairdressers and beauticians;
- sales and service workers;
- technical services consultants, programmers and computer specialists;
- waiters and bartenders.
Ayia Napa’s famous nightlife attracts thousands of international workers every year, meaning many bar and PR jobs are available throughout the summer. You can expect to work 4-5 days a week during the low season, but 6-7 days during the high season.
You can find jobs in Cyprus at:
- Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
- Cyprus Recruiter;
- Global Recruitment Solutions;
- Jobs in Cyprus;
Advertisements are also placed in newspapers and through recruitment agencies. District Labour Offices provide European Union (EU) citizens with advice and information on finding work. They can also arrange placements and vocational training.
Teaching in Cyprus
Jobs in private international schools are open to those with at least two years’ teaching experience. You will usually also require a Bachelors degree, plus a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification.
Most openings are found in Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol, Famagusta and Nicosia. Working hours are typically 20-30 hours per week, with salaries and benefits dependent on your qualifications. However, monthly pay usually begins at around €1,850 (£1,315).
You can browse teaching opportunities in Cyprus at:
- Dave’s ESL Cafe;
- Go Abroad;
- Go Overseas – Teach English in Cyprus;
- Teach Away – Teach in Cyprus;
- TEFL Cyprus.
Internships and work experience in Cyprus
There is no national legislation on student placements; instead, internships and work experience is organised by universities, professional bodies and other stakeholders. Options include:
- Erasmus+ – Students complete work or study placements, monitored by your UK university.
- Work and Travel Cyprus – This is designed for young EU citizens seeking international work experience. It offers placements in coastal hotels and restaurants for a minimum of three months. Most positions include accommodation and meals.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Cyprus – Students gain an understanding of UNDP’s policies and priorities through the United Nations’ Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP-ACT) and Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) programmes. It’s aimed at students in: conflict resolution; economics; international relations; sociology; public or business administration; and environmental studies.
Volunteering in Cyprus
Volunteering opportunities exist all-year-round across Cyprus, but particularly in Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol, Famagusta and Nicosia. Work camps and youth exchange programmes often involve volunteering.
Many openings are environmental or conservational, with animal sanctuaries and marine projects proving popular. For example, opportunities to help sea turtles through research and education are provided by the Marine Turtle Conservation Project – Northern Cyprus.
English is widely spoken throughout Cyprus, but many jobs require you to speak Greek. There are some Greek courses in the UK, while the University of Cyprus offers summer training at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Cypriot visas and immigration
EU citizens don’t need a visa to enter Cyprus, but those staying for over three months require a five-year resident permit, Alien Registration Card (ARC) and a social security number. Apply for these immediately upon arrival.
One-year long-stay visas are usually suited to non-EU citizens seeking employment. They must be backed up by letters from your employer – or from an accountant or solicitor, if you happen to be self-employed.
How to explain your UK qualifications to employers
Employers usually understand UK qualifications as the Cypriot education system has many similarities, but you will need to clarify that this is the case before submitting your application.
Average wages in the country are quite low, but so is the cost of living. The working week runs from Monday to Friday, with the working day starting between 7.30am-8.30am and ending between 3pm-4pm. Private sector working hours are 8am-1pm and 3pm-6pm from September to May, and 8am-1pm and 4pm-7pm from June to August.