Social insurance in Cyprus for newly-arrived UK expats

Social insurance in Cyprus for newly-arrived UK expats

Social insurance in Cyprus for newly-arrived UK expats

British expats could forgive themselves for being confused about Cyprus’s compulsory social insurance system.

The Republic of Cyprus operates a compulsory social insurance scheme into which all working adults must pay, but it’s seen as confusing by many newly–arrived British expatriates. Basically, payments depend on earnings, with adjustments for the self-employed and an average annual contribution totalling around seven per cent of the annual salary. Added contributions paid in by employers and the Cypriot State bring the total of contributions up to 20 per cent.

At first glance, the scheme seems generous as it offers a wide range of benefits from maternity allowances and grants through sickness and unemployment benefits, healthcare, old age pensions and funeral grants. The problems start when new arrivals realise certain benefits are irrelevant for expats. For example, the funeral grant of just under €1,000 covers the cost of a Cypriot burial in an existing family grave plot, but expat funerals come out at around ten times as expensive.

For expats, healthcare and pensions are the most likely benefits, with the island’s healthcare system efficient and comprehensive. Even so, the majority of Cypriots take out private health insurance as do most expatriate residents, as it gives greater choice of practitioners and a faster service overall. At present, expats who’ve paid into any EU state’s social security schemes for two years or more before arriving in Cyprus are entitled to public health provision, but it’s not known how Brexit will affect this right.

Expat pensioners who’re in receipt of a state pension from another EU member state can also receive free or subsidised healthcare, but again, it’s not certain whether this will continue. Working out the Cypriot pension plan is tricky as it includes several different schemes which depend on the status of the employment itself. It’s payable from the age of 65, and most expats are likely to be covered under the General Social Insurance scheme. To receive the pension, you’ll need to have lived for 20 years from the age of 40 in either EU or EEA member states, Cyprus or Switzerland.

Related Stories:

Latest News: