Cyprus at a Glance
Moving to Cyprus
Welcome to the European Union’s ‘outpost’ to the southeast! Expats moving to the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea are in for a real treat, at least as far as the location is concerned. The incredible weather and cultural heritage have definitely had their part in making moving to Cyprus so popular with expats.
The Climate in Cyprus
There are many reasons for moving to Cyprus. With the country’s economy going through a severe crisis, the climate may now be among the most convincing. Hot summers of 33°C and more, contrasted by mild winters, sound like a Mediterranean dream come true.
In fact, locals and expats enjoy the warmest climate in the entire European Union in one of the sunniest places around, with over 320 days of sunshine per year. Unfortunately, this fact also has its downsides, as the island suffers from a near-constant freshwater shortage. However, if you are not moving to Cyprus to work in the agricultural sector or in hydrotechnology, this will most probably not influence your everyday life.
Political and Economic Situation
If you have already done your homework before you decided to move to Cyprus, you will be well aware that since 1974, the island has de facto been divided into two parts: the sovereign state of the Republic of Cyprus, and the Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus. This division was the direct consequence of a Turkish invasion of the island, following political turbulences which disrupted the coexistence of Greek and Turkish Cypriots under one flag.
The division is still in force today, with a UN-controlled buffer zone separating the two parts. Turkey remains the only country in the world which acknowledges the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a fact which has caused the northern parts of the island – about 40% of the total area – to be heavily dependent on aid from the Turkish mainland.
In general, expats opt against settling in the Turkish part of the island. Which is, of course, not to say that northern Cyprus is devoid of a charm of its own. However, its lack of international recognition and its dependence on Turkey are the main reasons why foreign residents prefer moving to Cyprus’s southern half.
The Republic of Cyprus, however, continued on its road to prosperity until very recently, joining the EU in 2004 after decades of economic growth. In 2012, though, the current Cypriot financial crisis started. The nation’s credit rating was severely downgraded, its banking sector was restructured, and unpopular austerity measures were introduced. How all this is going to affect the flagging economy remains to be seen.
For all intents and purposes of this article series on the island, we will only focus on moving to Cyprus’s southern part, the Republic of Cyprus. The same applies to the articles on living and working in Cyprus.
Security Advice for Cyprus
Generally speaking, Cyprus is a very safe country with a low crime rate. The usual security measures that expats moving to Cyprus would also adhere to in their home countries are absolutely sufficient on the island.
However, you should make sure to never try to cross the border between the two parts of the island at any other point than the few designated border crossings, for example in Nicosia, and absolutely never take pictures of any official or military institutions or personnel. While signs to this effect exist, they might not be everywhere, and it is wisest to just pass on taking photos when in doubt, or your move to Cyprus may take a rather unpleasant turn.