A framework towards bringing in foreign investment and best international talent
On October 15, 2021, the Council of Ministers approved the ‘Strategy for Attracting Businesses for Activities and/or Expansion of their Activities in Cyprus’.
The strategy is a very important initiative towards attracting both international investments and talent. The existing investment policy has been radically reviewed, broadened and simplified to include a series of actions and reforms in several areas of intervention, aiming to enhance Cyprus’ position as an international high-growth business centre and redefining the Cyprus growth model.
The Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, following the approval of the Ministerial Council’s decision for the new strategy, will play a key role in this action. As of January 1, 2022, the current ‘Fast Track Business Activation Mechanism’ will evolve into the ‘Business Facilitation Unit (BFU)’. The unit will be the single point of contact for foreign companies.
The purpose of the new unit will be the fast and efficient processing of requests received from foreign companies for the establishment of a company in Cyprus or the expansion of activities of existing companies.
Highlights of the Strategy
- Foreign companies/undertakings operating in the Republic of Cyprus or foreign companies/undertakings intending to operate in the Republic of Cyprus, that operate independent offices in Cyprus, housed in appropriate independent offices, separate from residences or other offices;
- Cypriot shipping companies;
- Cypriot high-tech/ innovative companies;
- Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or companies active in the sectors of biogenetics and biotechnology.
- University diploma or degree or equivalent qualification or confirmation of relevant experience in a corresponding job of at least two years duration;
- Employment contract of not less than two years duration.
Issuance of Residence and Employment Permits for Staff
- Up to three years;
- Minimum gross monthly salary of at least €2,500.
Duration for acquiring Residence and Employment Permits
- Within one month;
- Maximum number of third-country nationals is set at 70 per cent of all employees over a period of five years, from the date of joining the Business Facilitation Unit. Re-assessment after five years, on a case by case basis, if the criterion of 30 per cent Cypriot employees is not met.
- Tax exemption of 50 per cent to new non-domicile employees with employment remuneration of €55,000 and above — period 10 years;
- Tax exemption of 50 per cent for existing non-domicile employees with employment remuneration of €100,000 and above — extended period 17 years;
- Tax exemption of 50 per cent for existing non-domicile employees with employment remuneration between €55,000 and 100,000 — period 10 years.
Right to apply for Naturalisation
- After five years of residence and employment in the Republic of Cyprus, instead of seven according to the existing policy;
- Further reduction to four years if the criterion of holding a recognised certificate of very good knowledge of the Greek language is met.
For more information on the new strategy please visit the website: https://www.businessincyprus.gov.cy/business-facilitation-unit/
Services of the new Business Facilitation Unit
The services to be provided by the Unit include:
1. Registration of companies in the register of foreign-interest companies
Assessment by the unit whether companies wishing to employ third-country nationals falls within the criteria of foreign interest companies, as defined above. Subsequently, companies will be recorded under a special register that will be notified to the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
2. Provision of Services for the establishment of a company:
Assist companies to obtain all necessary registrations for the establishment of a new business entity in a single point. This includes the following:
- Company registration and name approval;
- Registration in the Social Insurance Register (employers’ register);
- Registration in the Tax/VAT Register;
- Accelerate the issuance and renewal of residence and employment permits.
3. Licensing facilitation for the establishment and operation of companies in Cyprus
Guidance and provision of information on the necessary permits/licences required for starting operations.