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Is working in Cyprus really as simple as it sounds?

There used to be a time when, as a British citizen, working in Cyprus wasn't a problem and, if nothing else, you could more or less guarantee being able to find a job in a bar or restaurant.

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These days, however, working in Cyprus is no longer as easy

 
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On January 1st 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became full members of the European Union. This caused a flood of cheap labour onto the Cypriot market, as citizens of the two countries were now allowed to work in other E.U countries. It was the casual labour market which was affected most by the comparatively huge number of migrant workers suddenly appearing on the island's shores.

Thanks, but I don't need a history lesson; just tell me what finding work in Cyprus is like now.

 

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Within twelve months there was hardly a bar, waitress, or labourer's job which wasn't filled by Bulgarian or Romanian staff. The situation was further compounded by the global economic downturn of 2008, which prompted many Cypriot businesses to either cut back on staff, or simply replace their existing foreign workers with low-cost Eastern Europeans. As a result, average wages actually seem to have dropped during the past three years, since the Republic of Cyprus does not have a minimum hourly wage, but a rather low minimum monthly one.

Professional and commercial sectors were affected too, as seemingly everyone, from plumbers to architects, suddenly realised that there was more money to be earned by working in Cyprus than by working at home. And though job-losses were not as severe among Cypriot professionals, local employers are now somewhat more prone to fill new vacancies with lower-wage Bulgarian or Romanian professionals, than with those from other European nations.

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So what's finding work in the Republic of Cyprus like in 2011?

Work at the Zeus Jewellery Workshop in Larnaca

 

The ease with which you're able to find work in the Republic of Cyprus will largely depend on your professional qualificatiuons, and/or your personal skill set. As previously mentioned, if all you're looking for is a casual job in the tourism sector or catering trade, then you're up against an awful lot of cheap Eastern European competition.

To a certain degree this also holds true for many trades, and even if you're a highly experienced plumber or electrician from the UK, for instance, you'll be expected to work for substantially less than you would have been a couple of years ago, simply because of the large number of Romanian and Bulgarian tradesmen either working in Cyprus already, or in search of employment in one of the island's major population centres.

If you happen to be a skilled professional, however, the situation changes once again, as there is a very definite call for many professions in the Republic. The finance and technology companies of Nicosia and Limassol especially, are nearly always seeking skilled professionals to join their teams.

What's more, the past six years have seen an increasing number of European corporations open regional offices in Cyprus, as it presents them with an ideal location to serve as a base of operations for both south-eastern Europe and the Middle East. During the course of opening their new office locations, most of these companies invariably hire new staff. In more than a few cases, however, the skills they require are in short supply locally, and need to be imported from elsewhere.

 

Nicosia's outlying commercial districts

"Unless you're retired or self-employed, finding a job and working in Cyprus are vital if you're moving here."

Therefore researching whether or not local employers actually have a requirement for your particular skills must form part of your research before you can ever contemplate moving to, or living in, Cyprus. During the past six years, our staff have seen a great many people relocate to the Republic without even checking the employment situation before making their move. In the majority of these cases, the individuals in question ended up returning to the United Kingdom within twelve months of arriving here.

As in so many other aspects of moving to Cyprus, the advice here has to be: "Look before you leap." Check out the Republic of Cyprus' Labour Department website for more information about working in Cyprus and the current situation on the local employment market.

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Driving in Cyprus

For many first-time visitors from the UK, driving in Cyprus can come as a bit of a shock, as the Republic has few of the congestion problems found in the UK, and serious traffic congestion is therefore quite rare. There is, however, another side to the island's roads, as road-manners and driving standards are no match for those on the United Kingdom's highways.
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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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