International workers face stiff competition for jobs in this Mediterranean country, but with its reasonable cost of living, Cyprus could be ideal for those looking for some sunshine and culture

Cyprus is divided into the Greek population in the south and Turkish population in the north.

The country is located at the meeting point of Europe, Asia and Africa and as such is the perfect blend of these three cultures.

Finding work can be a challenge; while youth unemployment figures are falling they remain high at 32%. Those that manage to secure work are rewarded with year-round sunshine, picturesque beaches, vibrant nightlife and ancient sites of Greek, Byzantine, Crusader and Islamic history.

Jobs in Cyprus

Cyprus was hit hard by the economic crisis, which created unprecedented levels of unemployment. Fortunately, the country's job market is showing signs of recovery.

Finding work can be difficult for foreigners as you'll compete against locals for jobs. However there are a number of ways to boost your chances of employment.

For example, while the main business language is English, the majority of employers demand some knowledge of Greek. Those with degrees in electrical engineering, finance, IT and telecommunications are also in high demand.

The tourism industry accounts for the largest part of the country's GDP and international workers can usually find opportunities in this sector. Other major industries include:

  • energy
  • real estate
  • the service sector
  • shipping.

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.

You can find jobs in Cyprus at:

How to get a job in Cyprus

You can apply for jobs in the country before arrival, but one of the best methods of finding employment is through networking. Making use of personal contacts and discovering vacancies through word-of-mouth is the easiest way for foreigners to find work.

If you don't have many contacts on arrival, your first port of call should be the Public Employment Office, located in all major towns and cities.

Some Cypriot companies accept CVs year-round so they can recruit as and when, meaning that speculative applications also work well.

Application methods are similar to those in the UK with organisations typically asking for a CV and cover letter or a completed application form. Most jobs can be applied for online.

Summer jobs

Due to the country's large tourism sector seasonal and casual jobs are relatively easy to find. Those seeking summer work can find opportunities in hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Ayia Napa's famous nightlife attracts thousands of international workers every year, meaning many bar, club and PR jobs are available throughout the summer. You can expect to work four to five days a week during the low season, but six to seven days during the high season.

Casual opportunities also include fruit picking.

Volunteering opportunities exist 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.

Teaching in Cyprus

It is possible to teach English as a foreign language in Cyprus, although competition for posts is fierce and the number of jobs limited.

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 to 30 hours per week, with salaries and benefits dependent on your qualifications.

You can browse teaching opportunities in Cyprus at:

Internships

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 their 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.

Cypriot visas

EU citizens don't need a visa to enter or work in Cyprus, but those staying for more than three months will need to apply for a registration certificate. To gain a certificate you'll need to prove that you have secured employment and have the financial means to support yourself. You'll also need to apply for an 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. Contact the Cypriot embassy in your country of origin for more information on work visas for non-EU nationals.

Language requirements

English is widely spoken throughout Cyprus, but many jobs require you to speak Greek.

You could take a course in Greek while in your home country or learn once in Cyprus. Lessons are provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture, universities and private language schools.

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.

You, or your employer, can find out more at ENIC-NARIC or Europa - Qualifications for Employment.

What it's like to work in Cyprus

Average wages in the country are quite low, but so is the cost of living. The working week runs from Monday to Friday, and hours generally amount to 40 per week.

Depending on where you work and your length of service, you're entitled to between 20 and 24 days paid holiday leave per year.

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