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Working in Cyprus

Cyprus might seem like a dream come true for the sun-worshipping expat. But the island nation in the Mediterranean has a lot more in store for its working population. The country has been successful at undertaking measures to make working in Cyprus appealing again.
Cyprus is an integral part of the European Union, both culturally and economically.

At a Glance:

  • Cyprus is beginning to make steady progress as it comes out of the recession that struck in 2013.
  • The tourism and energy sectors are vast and growing parts of Cyprus’ economy.
  • The majority of Cyprus’ GDP comes from the services sector, with the shipping industry forming a large part of this.
  • Cyprus is very open towards international businesses.
  • The island has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe, at 12.5%.

Cyprus: A Resilient Economy

Expats interested in working in Cyprus can look forward to entering a work environment with all the assets of a modern economy that focuses heavily on the service sector. While there is still some agriculture and mining to be found in Cyprus — the name itself has its roots in the Greek work for ‘copper’ — the national economy is firmly based on its tertiary sector. Indeed, the service sector currently accounts for more than 47% of the GDP  in the Republic of Cyprus.

However, the country has been struggling from the economic and financial crisis in the last few years. Since Cyprus’ banking sector has been extensively exposed to Greek debt, the economic growth rate shrank severely. As of January 2017, the growth rate is 0.6%. Cyprus came out of recession in 2015 — one year earlier than originally assumed. Now, the Republic of Cyprus is one of Europe’s fastest growing economies and has shown great resilience since the financial crisis in 2013.

A Tourist Hotspot

Many an expat working in Cyprus today probably got to know the island through one of its main assets. With its beautiful location right in the Mediterranean Sea, its virtually uninterrupted, year-long sunshine, and plentiful cultural treasures to boost, it should not be very surprising that Cyprus is a popular tourist location. In fact, the tourism sector is one of the country’s most important economic pillars, contributing to about one-fifth of the national GDP. Cyprus’ hotels, restaurants, bars, sights, and other parts of the hospitality industry benefit directly and indirectly from tourism and, thus, have provided safe employment opportunities for many Cypriots for decades.

The economic crisis had a tremendously negative impact on Cyprus’ tourism industry, but tourist arrivals have experienced substantial growth in the past five years, which is due to an increasing demand in international tourism, among other things. Thus, working in Cyprus’ tourism industry today is becoming all the more interesting. While the percentage of tourist arrivals from Europe is slightly decreasing, a larger number of Russian and Asian tourists have been making their way to the picturesque island.

However, while Cyprus has made major steps towards diversifying its economy, the tourism sector has also been going through a major overhaul, with a record number of tourists expected to arrive in 2017. Industry representatives hope to further increase the number of visitors and to secure growth and future opportunities for working in Cyprus — in this field at least.

Huge Foreign Investment

An incredible 81% of the national GDP is generated within the third sector. Apart from the major contributions of the tourism sector, the employees working in Cyprus’ business and financial sectors play a vital role in the country’s economy. After slowly but steadily recovering from the economic crisis and thanks to large amounts of foreign investment, Cyprus is expected to be reporting positive economic growth soon and an increase in the number of jobs in these sectors. In 2016, Cyprus received a 9.1% increase in foreign investment and has become a top foreign direct investment location. This is also true for the real estate and construction sector, which is attracting more and more people to work in Cyprus.

Another main staple of the services sector is shipping. Limassol is one of the busiest ports in the EU and the main point of entry and exit for goods of all kind, as well as one of the largest ship management centers in Europe. Working in Cyprus’ shipping industry has been well-respected for a long time. Cyprus is known for its high quality and safety standards when it comes to shipping. In order to boost the sector, which has remained quite competitive during the crisis, Cyprus plans to undertake rebranding and restructuring initiatives in the near future.

Leading the Way With Renewable Energy

Cyprus has a relatively large manufacturing industry that produces, among other things, food and beverages, clothing and textiles, plastics and chemicals. However, especially in the latter fields, Cyprus is feeling the competition of emerging markets with plenty of low-income workers.

The energy sector is growing fast in Cyprus. Not only does Cyprus hold great reserves of fossil fuels along the coastal waters, but the country is also leading the way in establishing and implementing renewable energy sources. It is currently ranked number one worldwide in using solar energy for water heating in households. So, if you are involved in the energy sector, working in Cyprus might be your opportunity to gain exclusive expat experience.

The Gateway Island

The island’s great openness towards international businesses has always been one of the most important aspects for expats interested in working in Cyprus. The Cypriot government is actively promoting the nation’s location as a gateway to three continents — Europe, Asia, and Africa — and thus attracting multinational corporations who consider working in Cyprus as a strategically smart move to expand to further markets. Also, Cyprus is famous for its highly skilled and educated workforce as well as imposing a very low corporate tax rate on companies. In 2014, Cyprus managed to attract foreign investments of 2 billion USD.


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