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Cabinet approves start-up scheme for foreign investors

A SCHEME aimed at attracting foreign investment to Cyprus through third-country – i.e. non-European Union – innovative start-ups was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.

Speaking after the cabinet session, undersecretary to the president Constantinos Petrides said the scheme is aimed at investors, either individual or a group, who wish to found an innovative business in Cyprus.

The plan, he explained, invites third-country nationals with start-up capital of at least €50.000, undergraduate-level education, and are fluent either in Greek or English, to set up their headquarters and their tax residence in Cyprus, provided their proposed business is certifiably innovative.

Petrides said that 150 visas to eligible investors will be made available, which will remain valid for two years, but only if their business takes off.

“We passed a very competitive measure that exists in most developed countries, the ‘start-up visa’,” he said.

“Although innovative start-ups have a very high rate of failure, the ones that survive can create many jobs, generate income, and push a country toward innovation. The founders of these successful companies will enjoy permanent residence in Cyprus, the right to hire up to a certain number of staff, and the right to reunite with their families, among other things.”

But whether a company is “successful” will be judged from the number of jobs created, the tax paid in Cyprus, the company’s exports, its contribution to economic growth, and the extent to which it promotes innovation and research, he added.

“And these benefits will be extended to these companies,” he said.

“An ecosystem of innovation and research and development is not created with words, nor with hollow declarations, but with modern tools. We are trying to offer these modern tools.”

He added that the government will create an innovative Cyprus, because “the talent exists, and so do other conducive circumstances, with which we could attract these investments, if only we move forward scientifically, judging by what applies in other countries”.

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