For the last years, Cyprus, which is an EU Member State, is one of Europe’s largest financial and Forex trading hubs. Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) issued its very first Forex Brokerage license in 1988 and since then Cyprus has seen a huge increase in Forex Firms taking up residence, with over 40 now domiciled on the island. It became also popular due to the possibility to carry out operations across Europe through relatively easy establishment conditions, its perfect location and the availability of regulatory agency together with low Cyprus taxes.
The country is also a member of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and subject to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), an EU law designed to ensure a regulatory framework for finance products across all EEA countries.
As a general rule, a company in the Republic of Cyprus should give priority in employment recruitment to Cypriots and EU nationals before employing a Third Country National. Nevertheless, Cyprus has provided an exception for the Companies of Foreign Interests, to employ Third Country Nationals subject to certain requirements. This procedure is suitable for a Third Country National who may incorporate his/her own company, with an investment of at least €200.000. The company owners can also apply for a work permit and residency through the company. This will give them the right to live and work in Cyprus and they can also benefit from both the individual tax rate savings and the corporate tax savings available in Cyprus including the non-Domicile status.
For the employment of a third country national in the Republic of Cyprus, a Cyprus Forex Company can be registered as a Company of Foreign Interests if it meets the following criteria:
- Third country shareholders should own the majority of the company’s shares.
- Deposited amount of at least €200.000, supported by a Bank SWIFT or other similar document which proves a foreign direct investment by the ultimate beneficial owner, legally admitted to Cyprus from (This requirement only applies to companies which will employ staff from third countries for the first time.)
- The Company should operate in independent offices in Cyprus and pursuant to the relevant regulations.
- Directors, (This category includes the Directors or Partners registered in the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the General Managers of branches and of mother companies of alien companies, the Departmental Managers and the Project Managers. Minimum acceptable gross salary is €4.000 Euro and the maximum number of persons for this category is five (5)).
- Middle Management Executives and other Key Personnel, (This category includes the upper / middle management personnel and the other administrative, secretarial or technical staff. Minimum acceptable gross salary amount is between €2.000 Euro and the maximum number of persons for this category is ten (10)).
- Specialists, (Companies are entitled to employ third country nationals in professions and / or with skills relevant to the Company’s operating activities. The minimum acceptable gross salary amount for this category is €2.000 Euro).
- Support Staff, (There is no maximum number for the employment of third-country nationals under this category, provided that the necessary approvals from Department of Labour have been obtained).
Validity of Temporary Residence and Employment Permit
The validity of the permit depends on the duration of the employment contract and can be up to two (2) years, with a right of renewal. Directors, Middle management executives and other key personnel may reside in the Republic without a time limit, provided they hold a valid temporary residence and employment permit.
In order to preserve family unity, third country nationals with residence and employment permits are able to exercise their right to Family Reunification for their family members (spouse and minor children), provided that the relevant conditions of the Aliens and Immigration Law are met. (Family reunification refers to the entry and residence of the family members of a third-country national residing legally in the Republic)