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Moving to Cyprus

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Moving to Cyprus

Postby Alex L » Sun Mar 06, 2005 12:18 am

Hi, my first time on this forum, it looks like an interesting place.

I'm based in the UK, of Cypriot descent, and am thinking about moving to Cyprus with my family. I've just come back from a short trip over there, and couldn't think of a good reason to be heading back to England.

I guess a lot of retired people head out to Cyprus, but we are late thirties with a 6 year old son. I'm hoping this forum will be a good place to check out some of the many questions we have about a possible relocation. We're not too keen to ensconce ourselves in the ex-pat life, and particularly with my Cypriot heritage (and quite a few Cyprus based family friends and relatives), we would be looking to live as much as possible in the Cypriot community.

First off, what are the prospects like for children in Cyprus? What is the education system like? Is it generally a good place to grow up? What about for older children/teenagers?

Also, are there any others of you who have made the move out there in similar circumstances?

Finally, what are employment prospects like? I guess things will have changed post EU, but is the job market truly accessible (particularly for non Greek speakers)?

A few good questions to kick off, I have many more to follow! Hope some of you will be able to give me a steer, and many thanks in advance if you can.
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Postby andytandreou » Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:12 am

Hello Alex, and welcome to the forum. Some people try and look for one big reason to move to Cyprus, the fact is there isn't..! There are however millions of smaller reason why you definatley should! As i have, you wil discover these while you stay here. I love Cyprus for it's contrasts, you can enjoy the snow, go to the beach or enjoy a mountain stay while only needing to drive relativley short distances.


First off, what are the prospects like for children in Cyprus? What is the education system like? Is it generally a good place to grow up? What about for older children/teenagers?
This is a very good question and for a six year old child I promise you Cyprus is a lot safer than ANY place in England. Not only safer but friendlier too. The education system is superb and continualy evolving under the scope of European adjustments. Computers and fast internet connections are the norm in all schools and should you prefer to send your child to a private school the benefits are even greater, but the price may reach £500-£700 pounds per year...


Finally, what are employment prospects like? I guess things will have changed post EU, but is the job market truly accessible (particularly for non Greek speakers)?
This is a question which i cannot answer without knowing you and your background, but as a rule you should know that the public sector pays extreamly well, even for UK standards, however you need to know good greek (not always though), as for the private sector, greek is mostly not even an issue, as long as you know English you shouldn't have a problem. With the private sector things are greatly improving in the lower income brackets and minimum wages are set to rise to £400 soon. If you have a degree you can earn up to two or three times the minimum wage and the average wage stands at around £700-£800 per month (rising constantly).

please feel free to ask more questions as you see fit :D
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Postby Alex L » Sun Mar 06, 2005 3:01 am

Thanks for a helpful and friendly start to my quest - encouraging to hear such positive views.

I get the impression that the family/social structure is quite strong in Cyprus, and that therefore children are better rooted and able to live freer lives - I don't know where I got this impression, but you certainly don't see much visible evidence of disaffected or dysfunctional youth on an average trip around the streets of the major cities. Would be interested to know if there are any resources that could give me more details of educational opportunities, both private and public.

As for work, I have a degree and work for the UK government, so a job in Govt or the public sector would be the best place for me to start. And even if I start learning Greek now, I'm only going to get good at it if I am surrounded by Greek speakers on a daily basis, so I would have to apply for jobs with only a basic knowledge of Greek at best.

The next question is where to live? My recent visit was centred on Limassol (Kivides), and I quite liked it. I also have contacts in Larnaca (sorry, Larnaka) and Lefkosia (my father's family house was used as a EOKA strongpoint and is in what is now the Northern section).

I know about the basics of these areas, but I'm interested to know if there is an area that is noted for its culture, perhaps slightly off-beat culture. It would be good to live somewhere interesting, and definitely away from the top tourist or ex-pat haunts. What is the NW like - Polis and further East? I ask because I know precisely nothing about the area.

Finally, my dad always told me when visiting not to mention that I was the son of a GC, as apparently I am eligible for military service. I don't know whether this is true, but are there any requirements of residents of a certain age to complete a period of military service? I'm sure, at age 6, my son would love to join the army, but he may not be so keen at 18!
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Postby cannedmoose » Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:11 pm

Alex L wrote:Finally, my dad always told me when visiting not to mention that I was the son of a GC, as apparently I am eligible for military service. I don't know whether this is true, but are there any requirements of residents of a certain age to complete a period of military service? I'm sure, at age 6, my son would love to join the army, but he may not be so keen at 18!


Alex, not knowing your particular background but deducing from it that your father was a Cypriot citizen (i.e. holds a Republic of Cyprus passport), rather than being concerned simply about your son's possible military requirement, you should look more urgently into whether YOU may be required to do military service. The Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a good site of information (link below) on this and according to their guidelines:

"MILITARY OBLIGATIONS
In accordance with the provisions of the Law relating to National Guard, there is compulsory military service for all male citizens of the Cyprus Republic including persons of Cypriot descent on the male side. Persons of Cypriot descent on the male side (that is all who have a Cypriot father) are liable for compulsory service even if they do not have Cypriot citizenship. The obligation commences in the year the person becomes 18 and continues to the year of his 50th birthday."

So, if your father was a RoC citizen, you would have an obligation to perform military service, even as a British citizen. According to the guidelines on this site, because you are over 26 years old, this would require a 3-month stint, essentially just to provide you with basic training. Since you have a family, I would really get some advice on this before you make the big step as this could mean you're away from them for the first few months after arrival on the island.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from moving to Cyprus, I'm planning to do that myself in a few years time, but I'd much rather you be fully aware of this rather than step off the plane and find yourself recruited into the national guard on arrival.

http://www.mfa.gov.cy/mfa/mfa.nsf/Overs ... 7B00410AAF
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Postby Alex L » Sun Mar 06, 2005 2:01 pm

Thanks for pointing this out. So my dad is right - I need to get a visa just to get of the country every time I visit (if I choose to declare his nationality)!

Quite what purpose would be served (or waht national benefit there would be) by me spending 3 months in the military is beyond me. Perhaps I would just keep quiet about my heritage. 8)
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Postby cannedmoose » Sun Mar 06, 2005 2:27 pm

Alex L wrote:Thanks for pointing this out. So my dad is right - I need to get a visa just to get of the country every time I visit (if I choose to declare his nationality)!

Quite what purpose would be served (or waht national benefit there would be) by me spending 3 months in the military is beyond me. Perhaps I would just keep quiet about my heritage. 8)


No problem Alex, it does appear that your dad is correct. A friend of mine is in the same position. The problem with staying quiet about your heritage is that it could come out at some point, you may need to apply for documentation and declare parentage as an example. If you dodge the service, they could come down hard on you. If you were just planning to visit it wouldn't be an issue, but settling permanently makes it important.

I agree that there is absolutely no benefit to you as a late-thirties, non-Greek speaker doing the service, but from all accounts they're very strict in enforcing it. My wife is Cypriot and when we return she will have to do 6 months of civil defence training (although it's only evening classes), if I ever want citizenship, as opposed to just residency, I would also need to do service. The merits of military service and the role of the national guard aside, I would seriously consider this before you plan too far ahead. If they find out, you could be whisked off to the barracks with penalties imposed for attempting to get out of it.
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Postby Alex L » Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:46 pm

Thanks for your advice. So what exactly would I have to do? At 37, I'm still quite fit, but surely it would be a desk job, or counting cactuses, or something?

:2guns:
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Postby cannedmoose » Sun Mar 06, 2005 7:00 pm

Alex L wrote:Thanks for your advice. So what exactly would I have to do? At 37, I'm still quite fit, but surely it would be a desk job, or counting cactuses, or something?

:2guns:


To be honest re, I'm not entirely sure what they'd have you doing, I'd have to defer to others in this forum on that one since I have never, and will never serve in the National Guard. I know that normally you enter what is essentially boot camp for the first 40 days or so, where they work on fitness, drills, basic training etc. Given that you'd be in a different situation to the normal draftees, I'm not sure if you'd have to go through this or not. From what I've heard, the army life is sometimes unpleasant for repatriated Cypriots, who instantly stand out from the crowd (not something advised in the army!)

Anyway, given my lack of practical knowledge on this, I'd defer to fellow forum-ites on this one. There must be someone on here who has first-hand experience of this. Good luck anyways Alex. :wink: If I see you on the Green Line any time, I'll give you a wave! :lol:
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Postby erolz » Sun Mar 06, 2005 8:12 pm

Alex L wrote:Thanks for your advice. So what exactly would I have to do? At 37, I'm still quite fit, but surely it would be a desk job, or counting cactuses, or something?


Hi Alex.

I have been through the 'process' - all be it on the other side of the Cyprus divide, though I suspect there are more similarities than differences. Also it might be of general intertest anyway.

I was born in UK to an English Mother and Cypriot (Turkish Cypriot) father and lived my entire life in the UK up till a couple of years ago. A couple of years ago I decided to move to Cyprus (North) to live. I am deemed to be a citizen by the authorities here, whether I want to be or not, by dint of my father being a Cypriot. I too was liable for military service, despite being 37 and not speakig Turkish and being a pacifist. I was liable for 4 months military service (because of my vs the 12months+ if I had been 18 ). However in the north there is a 'pay your way out' option (it may be worth checking if such also applies in the south?). I could have paid £4000 and done no miltary service - if I had been able to afford that, which I could not. There was also an option to pay £2000 and do one month service instead of the 4 months. This could be done as one month straight or as 2 weeks and another 2 weeks (within 2 years of the initial 2 weeks). This is the option I chose (mainly because it allows you to pay only £1000 before the first 2 weeks of serivce and then pay the second £1000 when you do the second 2 weeks vs paying £2000 up front and doing the month - again not within my means at the time). So far I have completed my first 2 weeks of service and have to complete my second before June this year (yipee - not). I too had an intial reaction based on 'logic' - what value would 1 months service be to me, or to the armed forces here, given my age, my mentaility and my inability to speak Turkish. However if I learnt anything from my 2 weeks so far completed it's that military serice and logic are two incompatible things. Thrying to find 'sense' in the why you have to do it is a pointless task.

As to 'what was it like'. The two weeks I did involved some marching around and other totaly pointless and useless stuff. I lived 'on base' for the two weeks but was allowed home for one sunday out of the two. There was some typicaly miltary 'mind messing' - along the lines of there not being any water for showers on some days but when you go to the place you can buy a coke in the evening they are watering the flowers and trees arounf the base from a mobile tanker - stuff like that. Now I can kind of understand the 'strategy' of taking an 18 year old for 12 months and making them repeatedly do stuff that has no point - on the basis that if and when you ever ask them to shoot someone they do not ask 'why or should I' they just do it. But to take a bunch of 30-50 years olds for two weaks and follow the same procedure ? Well like I say military and 'sense' do not make good bed fellows. Over all the experience was not too bad. The physical side was pretty mild really. Some attempt to make us into soliders was made but neither our hearts or the hearts of thsoe trainning us was really in it. The general senslessness of it all was harder to take though.

Now personally I have nothing against the concept of 'duty' and 'service' as part of gaining citizenship. However If I could have done something that was of any use to anybody the whole thing would have been easier to swallow - like collecting rubbish from the beaches or any other number of things along similar lines.

Anyway that was my personal experience. As I say not directly related because of the North Cyprus / South Cyprus senario.
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Postby Alex L » Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:30 pm

Thanks erolz, an interesting story. I agree that some purposeful community service would be considerably easier to cope with.

To be honest, I would be more concerned about the prospects for my son if we moved out there, but surely this is something all Cypriot youngsers must have to face up to, so what are the general feelings about it?

Also, would be interested to hear about why you made the move to Cyprus and how you have found it.
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