How to leave to live and work in Cyprus without knowledge of English

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Usually I write technical articles in a habr, but not so long ago I noted two years of living in Cyprus and in this regard I would like to share information of a non-technical sense on how to leave to live and work in the European Union on an island in the Mediterranean Sea, in which companies why in Cyprus and whether it is worth it.

Disclaimer:
To avoid discrepancies, everything that will be described below is mostly about the city of Limassol , in which I live and work. All the comparisons that I will make with Russia are, for the most part, with St. Petersburg, where I lived recently. Further on under the text “Russians” I will mean the citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other Russian speakers. The locals do not particularly distinguish us; for them we are all Russians.



Causes


Actually, I’ll start by answering why Cyprus. I wanted to live a little and work in a warm climate in an English-speaking environment and I chose between: USA (San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego) (American English), Cyprus (Greek English), Vietnam (Vietnamese English), Thailand (Thai English).

The United States fell away almost immediately due to the fact that every year the number of applications exceeds the quota and the chance to get a working visa now is one of three (if not less). Because of the ghostly chance, I was not ready to pull the English language to the upper-intermediate level on one enthusiasm, go through interviews, collect a bunch of pieces of paper confirming my work experience and after all I didn’t get through the quota.
Since I did not plan to work on freelance, and at that time there were about one job in Vietnam, Thailand and Cyprus, I chose a job that I liked.

Climate
After living for many years in St. Petersburg, I would like to at least live a little where there is summer and preferably where there is no snow. In rare winters in Cyprus, the temperature at night drops to zero. However, if you miss the snow, you can go to the mountains, there is snow there, although not every year. This winter was especially warm and I went through it almost all in light sneakers.

English
I studied French at school and university, so I knew no more than 100 words in English and absolutely could not understand speech. In Cyprus, English is completely optional. Many Russian-speaking IT companies. Most realtors are Russian-speaking. Half of the car rental is owned by Russian-speaking or have Russian-speaking employees. There are Russian-speaking hairdressers. Shops "Rus-market", where you can buy familiar Russian products.
Most of the inscriptions on the shops of the main street are in Russian (for example, “furs”, “fur coats”), several in English, and I even saw one sign in Greek.
The official language of Cyprus is Greek, but most of the documents (employment contract, lease, opening a bank account) are in English.
Russian-speaking (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, etc.) in Limassol account for 10 to 20% with a total population of 250 thousand people. You can often hear jokes about Limassolsk. In tourist cities, for example, in Ayanap, almost every restaurant has Russian-speaking waiters. Most restaurants in Limassol have a Russian-language menu.
There are Russian-language schools and kindergartens, pharmacies, clinics, doctors, support at the center of the bank, etc.
Sometimes it seems that I did not seem to be leaving anywhere.
The number of the Russian-speaking population is sufficient for a “seamless” migration from Russia, and the number of the English-speaking population is for the study and practice of the English language. At work, most companies conduct free English courses for employees and their spouse.

Work


There are many Russian-speaking companies in Cyprus and many Russian-speaking vacancies. They can be found even on the usual headhunters , my circle and the linkedin blocked in Russia .
Often, Russian-language vacancies hang on Ukrainian and Belarusian job search sites, and only the most popular ones duplicate the headhunter. Or even just post it only on their sites, make a couple of reposts on social networks, and then wonder why there are so few responses.

Companies


Most IT companies work in the financial sector (Exness, FxPro, ForexTime, IronFx, Alpary, SpotOption).
There are also offices of large Russian companies from St. Petersburg, such as SEMrush, Iqoption, Embria, etc.

Prices


There is an excellent site numbeo.com where you can easily compare prices in different cities of the world, for example: St. Petersburg vs Limassol and Limassol vs San Diego .
As for salaries, only those who have just moved to Cyprus are happy with it here. And after a while, human greed takes its own :). The average salary for a developer / tester / sysadmin / devops / designer is 2500-3500 euros after taxes.
Renting a one-bedroom apartment two years ago (one-bedroom: one bedroom + a living room) cost 450-550 euros, now 700-900 euros. Every year more and more offices of Russian-speaking companies are opening here and prices are rising smoothly.

Relocation bonuses


If you liked a vacancy in which the company does not help with relocation, then bypass this company. Most companies offer their new employees:
  • ordering and paying for tickets for you and your family
  • meeting at the airport and transfer to your meta accommodation
  • housing close to work for the first month, as well as a daily shuttle service, if far
  • Compensation of the cost of issuing certificates required for employment
  • visa for your family
  • I saw one company, which also gives 10k euros for startup expenses


Who is moving to Cyprus, why and for how long?


Someone because of the climate, someone because of the money. More often than not, people just go to try it - like it / not like it. Many whom I know return to Russia in a year or two or continue their journey further - European countries, States, etc.
If you are without children and doubt to go / not go, then definitely worth a try. If it’s with children, then the most common problems that they complain about are the cost of the kindergarten and that there are no grandparents nearby who can give children over for the weekend.

Unusual things that remind me that I'm not in Russia


Banks
A very short business day, something like until 14:00.
After concluding a contract with you to open an account, they will not give you your copy. The original is kept by them.
But once a month they send by mail a list of all transactions for the month (you can and should unsubscribe from this free service).
The card and pincode are sent by mail with an interval of two days.
In the department, it is problematic to put more than 2k euros into your account, you need a statement explaining the source of income and pieces of paper confirming this (“saved up and saved up” will not work). Once at a time it doesn’t have to - someone put 3k euros into the account without any questions, and someone already calls for a phone for 50 euros and are interested in the reasons for the transfer.
ATMs that accept cash and deposit to your account are rare and they work like this: you press a button - an envelope leaves, you write how much money is on a piece of paper, you put money and a piece of paper in an envelope, an envelope in an ATM, and then you wait until you manually process your transaction.
To take a mortgage - you need two local guarantors, banks do not need housing as collateral.

Pharmacies
There are no round-the-clock pharmacies, there are on-line pharmacies (in order to understand which particular pharmacy works at night today, you need to go to the nearest one and see the schedule on it).
Almost all pills require a prescription. Moreover, they can sell without a prescription even what in Russia cannot be bought with a prescription. All pills are completely different - you need to independently study foreign analogues, or buy only in Russian-speaking pharmacies.
Prices in all pharmacies are the same .

Transport
Buses travel very rarely, with air conditioning and without Wi-Fi, often almost empty.
Cars are parked everywhere on the sidewalks, it can be bypassed only on the roadway.
The amount of alcohol allowed in the blood is such that most people are not able to drink. To get a fine for drunk driving you really need to try.
A lot of British pensioners on cool cars, and just old men behind the wheel (rights are given for life).
Uber is not here - you have to call a taxi, if you don’t answer, then you’re out of luck, and if the taxi driver answered, but was tired, he could send a wife or son instead.
The navigator in Google maps instead of “turn onto Aneksartisias street” says “turn to hey-ni-epsilon-xi-alpha-ro-tao-sigma-iota-alpha-sigma” (Ανεξαρτησίας).
Left side traffic.
You can ride on Russian rights. After six months of living in Cyprus, you can take on local rights.
Also under Russian automobile rights you can rent a boat.

Gays
Here you can officially legitimize your relationship with a partner of any gender. After that, they help you get a spouse visa for your partner at your work.

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
In Cyprus, Wednesday is the second Friday, all stores close very early. Much earlier than your working day ends.
On Sunday, almost all stores are closed, if you want to go shopping, make a haircut, etc., then for this - Saturday.
During the holidays, nothing works at all, if I overlooked the upcoming holidays, then I will have to eat either in a cafe or in the pasture from the nearest minimarket.

Internet
9-12 Megabits - 25-35 euros. Connection fee. Periodic cliffs.
Connect via wi-fi (put a directional wi-fi antenna on the balcony / roof) or using ADSL.
Local sites look as if they were created at the beginning of the two thousandth.
For torrents - they do not fine, as in Germany and do not disconnect from the Internet, as in Britain.
Of the blocked sites - just a couple of some casinos.

Global topographical cretinism
Addresses are used only by mail employees and sometimes not always. No one uses cards. Taxi drivers do not use navigators, even if they have them, but will try to find out what is nearby.
If you call some organization and ask about its address, then instead of “Saripolu 37” you will see something like “if you go from the center along Afanasiu street, you need a third exit on the ring, after a few blocks there will be McDonald's, so after it, on the left side, behind the blue tall building will be our office. ” You ask to duplicate the sms address - you get the same “sheet” again.
If you order pizza and leave your address, then at the appointed time they will call you back and tell you the name of the store / cafe with the delivery man next to you, so that you can figure out where to go next, and woe to you if you do not know the named store.

Conferences / Seminars
Last year there were only two conferences: one for testers, and the second for designers. Since I am a backend developer and far from design, I attended a conference for testers.

Trade marks
Local companies were not at a loss and registered literally all well-known brands and use them at random. As a result, everything is completely confused, the cafe has the names of the clothing brand, the clothing store - the brand of shoes, etc. Worse only when a local store with products of not very good quality uses the world famous brand correctly.

People
The locals are very welcoming and friendly. Absolutely strangers willingly go to the rescue, even if you have not had time to ask for it yet. If you still know a few words in Greek, then they are generally enthusiastic.
At night you can safely walk in almost any area.
If you heard drunken cries somewhere at night, be sure that they are Russians :) The only exception is the area in which the building of the local football club is located, it is quite noisy there at night.

Schengen
Cyprus is a member of the European Union, but not a member of the Schengen zone. This means that you cannot go to Europe on your work visa. In St. Petersburg, you could quickly and easily get Finnish Schengen for a year, and then for two. Here, a visa is often issued only for specific dates of the trip and at the same time they require a bunch of certificates, and even the embassy is in another city. Nevertheless, if you have a Schengen, then you can fly to Cyprus if you do not have time to get the “pro-visa” necessary for tourists.

Taxes and duties
Corporate income tax is 12.5% ​​- the lowest tax in the European Union.
For individuals - a progressive tax, for a salary of 3,000 euros is about 10%.
The first 19500 euros per year are not taxed, the next 8499 - 20%, 8299 - 25%, the next 23699 - 30%, all that is higher - 35%.
T.O. with a salary of 3,000 per month and a corresponding annual income of 36,000, we get:
20,000 * 0 + 8499 * 0.2 + 7501 * 0.25 = 3575.05 per year, i.e. about 300 euros per month.
Usually, the employer deals with its calculation and payment.
When purchasing goods via the Internet with delivery from outside the European Union (for example, Aliexpress) you will have to pay a customs duty of 0-17% of the value of the goods (if the price is more than 150 euros) and sales tax - 18% of the total cost (goods + delivery + insurance) (if the total cost is more than 17 euros). To avoid these taxes, there are schemes with shipping through the UK.

Russian services
Almost all VKontakte music and all in Yandex does not work for free, you need a subscription.
Rutracker, on the other hand, is available without workarounds.
Yandex.Money cannot be replenished with a Cyprus card.

Things to do before leaving Russia:


  • Buy the most necessary medicines.
  • Buy a block of cigarettes - they are 5 times more expensive here.
  • Get Schengen for as long as possible.
  • Get a bank card, which, if it expires, can send you a new abroad. It also solves all problems remotely without going to the department. And it allows you to replenish it from a Cypriot bank.
  • Drink plenty of yogurt. Here it is only one kind - a bottle with the inscription "kefir".


Some links for the first time


Internet providers: alphanet , dragonnet , primetel , cablenet (eng) and cyta (eng)
Property for rent: bazaraki (eng)
Transport: Schedule and routes in Limassol and around the island , Airport Larnaca - Limassol Bus (eng) , routes to Limassol (eng) , taxi (eng, web, android, ios)
Pharmacies: state price list for all medicines (eng) , pharmacies on duty (eng)
News: cyprusnews (telegram) , Cyprus Newsletter and Russian Cyprus .
Local YouTube: Mileand Ekaterina Repina (six months ago she left for St. Petersburg a few years later in Cyprus).
Communities: Book of Complaints and Suggestions (Facebook group) , Russians in Cyprus , Russian Forum in Cyprus and Russian Forum of Cyprus .

PS: the article was compiled from notes over the past two years and something might already have changed, but this is not accurate.

Update:
There are no age restrictions on the part of the state. The only limitation is the availability of higher education (this is a requirement for obtaining a work visa).
The level of competition is lower than in our capitals.
Freelancers and business owners can get a visa, which gives the right to reside in Cyprus, but does not give the right to work for Cyprus companies.
I think that those who are interested in moving to Cyprus can unsubscribe about this in the comments, describing what they can and indicating in their profile a link to their resume / linkedin - so it will be much easier for eychars to find the right people.
Specialties are in demand completely different (mainly it and tourism). I gave links to vacancies above, go to them once a week and check for new ones or subscribe to the newsletter by email. At the moment (at the links above) vacancies are open:
PHP Developer
DevOps Engineer
Golang Developer
Senior Backend Developer
Android application
developer iOS application developer
Ведущий Front-end разработчик
Разработчик С++
Ведущий С++ разработчик
Senior QA Engineer
QA Automation Engineer
QA Engineer (Manual + Automation)
Senior Media Buyer / Senior Traffic Manager
HR- помощник собственника бизнеса
IT — помощник собственника бизнеса с функциями аналитика
Ведущий/ведущая караоке (DJ)
Scrum Master
Бухгалтер МСФО
… и многие другие. Каждую неделю вакансии меняются

Update 2:
Я не отвечаю на сообщения в личку/соцсети/телеграмм/смс/звонок. Если у вас есть вопрос, то задавайте его в комментариях, не нужно мне писать:
“Hello, Vladimir. I read your article on the gyktimes about Cyprus and relaxation. Forgive me for bothering in this way, I did not find your other contacts in the article "

Update 3:
Today another article about Cyprus was released on the hub
It has something that I forgot to write about: an electric blanket, deposits, mold ...
After a couple of months, another article about Cyprus appeared on the hub with a description of the same time period 20016-2018.

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