The government on Friday presented its new strategy for attracting businesses to Cyprus with emphasis, among others, on high technology, shipping, innovation, and research and development, in a bid to turn the island into a business and trade centre in the wider region and Europe.
Speaking at the presentation, President Nicos Anastasiades said the strategy includes 12 targeted actions in five pillars that takes into account the best practices employed by other European countries.
“It aspires to turn Cyprus into a sustainable business and trade centre in the wider region, and Europe of course,” Anastasiades said.
The president added that the strategy was fully in line with the European acquis and the Long-term Growth Strategy 2035, the new productive model for the future and the guidelines of the European Commission and the Recovery and Resilience Fund.
The incentives included in the strategy concern residence and employment, taxation, simplification and digitisation of procedures, as well as promoting Cyprus as an attractive investment destination.
The scheme will come into force in January 2022.
The scheme entails creating a business facilitation unit that will provide services to set up a company, VAT and income tax registration, and social insurance registration. The unit will also give guidance on the permits needed to set up shop in Cyprus and expedite employment and residence permits.
Eligible for inclusion in the scheme are foreign entities operating in Cyprus or those planning to operate, that have offices housed independently of other businesses and not in private homes.
Cypriot shipping, high tech, and pharmaceutical companies are also eligible.
The scheme allows employment of third-country nationals as long as they do not exceed 30 per cent of the total support staff and the parties have made an agreement that is approved by the authorities.
The duration of residence and employment permits will be three years and third-country nationals will have the right to have their family.
Immediate and free access to the job market to spouses whose partner has secured a residence and work permit and who make at least €2,500 gross per month. This does not concern support staff.
Simplification and acceleration of the process to secure employment permits and ensuring the right to pension through the social insurance fund by intensifying efforts to strike bilateral agreements with third countries.
Introduction of a Digital Nomad Visa with up to 100 beneficiaries who can be employed, self-employed, or freelance third-country nationals working remotely.
These individuals can reside in the country for up to one year with the right of renewal for two more years.
They can be accompanied by members of their family who will not be allowed to work.
If they stay in the Republic for a period that exceeds 183 days during the same tax year, they will be considered tax residents of Cyprus, provided they are not tax residents elsewhere.
Tax breaks will be extended for investment in innovative businesses while investors will gain the right to apply for citizenship after living and working in the Republic for five years instead of the current seven.
Those holding a recognised certificate of very good knowledge of the Greek language will be able to apply within four years.