Why live and work in Cyprus?
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, with an area of 9,251 km² and a population estimated around 838.897 people. The strategic location of the island has played an important role in establishing Cyprus as a very popular tourist destination and an ideal location for attracting international business. Cyprus has been a member state of the EU since 2004 offering high quality services to foreign investors.
We enjoy a high standard of living. A total of 180.000 foreign nationals live and work in Cyprus, a percentage of 22% of the country’ s total population, making it a very diverse and cosmopolitan place to live in. Crime rate is very low.
Cyprus is the sunniest country in Europe with over 340 days of sun annually. No matter the season, the sun shines throughout the year, particularly from April to September when the daily average exceeds 11 hours. It’s not all about sunshine though, high in the country’s central mountain range (Troodos) enough winter snow usually falls to allow the skiing pistes to open. According to the World Health Organization the environment in Cyprus is one of the healthiest in the world and is relatively unspoiled by industrialization.
We have a multilingual and highly educated workforce in Cyprus as we have the highest percentage of university graduates per capita in Europe. In fact, Cyprus is the second top spender in education relative to GDP in the EU and according to Eurostat is ranked top among the EU countries in terms of the proportion of the population with tertiary education qualifications, aged between 25-64.
As an EU Member, Cyprus offers excellent healthcare services in public hospitals, ata cost lower than most other EU countries, as well as in private state-of-the-art clinics and hospitals.
Cyprus offers a range of reputable public and private schools, all providing excellent levels of education. Greek is primarily the language used in public schools whereas English is primarily used in the majority of private schools.
The local Colleges and Universities are recognised internationally and for those wishing to further their education abroad, schools following the British Education System, or preparing candidates for entry into Universities in Europe or the United States, are also widely available.
Although the native language is Greek, English is the predominant business language.
Travel and Connections
The country’s capital and government and business centre is Nicosia, located in the centre of Cyprus. Limassol, the country’s main trade centre and one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean, is located right on the southern coast and is approximately one hour’s drive from Nicosia. Cyprus main international airport located in Larnaca is approximately 30 minutes away from each of these two main centres.
Overview of the Personal Tax System in Cyprus
Cyprus has a favourable personal tax system which provides many incentives to attract top calibre executives and highly paid employees to live and work in Cyprus. The Cyprus personal income tax rates are progressive and reach a competitive top marginal tax rate of 35% on taxable income in excess of €60.000. Income of up to €19.500 is not subject to tax. The latest personal tax incentive is 50% exemption from Cyprus personal income tax on the remuneration from any employment exercised in Cyprus by an individual who was not a resident of Cyprus before the commencement of the employment. The exemption is available for ten years where the annual remuneration exceeds €100.000.
Expatriates working In Cyprus
All citizens of the EU who wish to reside and work in Cyprus, need to apply for an EU Registration Certificate. This is a simple, one-off procedure which does not need renewal.
Non-EU nationals wishing to reside and work in Cyprus need to apply for a Temporary Employment and Residence Permit at the Civil Registry and Migration Department. These permits are usually issued for a period of 1 year and upon expiry they are renewed.
Why invest in Cyprus?
Hydrocarbon opportunities in Cyprus
Cyprus not only lies at the crossroads of big international energy routes but in all probability is surrounded by substantial oil and gas resources, a significant part of which falls within the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. Assessments by USGS bring the level of undiscovered oil and gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean to a total of 3.4 bbl for oil and circa 345 trillion cubic feet (tcf) for natural gas. Israel has already announced findings at Dalit, Tamar and Leviathan totalling 30tcf of natural gas. Even more significant undiscovered hydrocarbon resources are said to exist at the west of the island. Major international specialists in the hydrocarbon industries are already establishing in Cyprus.
Cyprus Investment Funds
Cyprus Private Funds regulated under the AIF Law (The Alternative Investment Funds Law of 2014 repealed the International Collective Investment Schemes Law (the "ICIS Law") the former legislative framework for investment funds in Cyprus) have tripled in number since the global financial crisis started in late 2008. A growing demand for transparency amongst investors as well as fears among hedge fund managers that the EU was sceptical on the ability of offshore fund structures to operate within EU, have played their part. The country’s comprehensive and transparent regulatory regime with minimal red tape, a business friendly environment well suited for international businesses and with a UK based legal system, a low cost base and an efficient tax system with a large network of Double Tax Treaties, make Cyprus Private Funds a highly attractive choice for fund managers.
Cyprus AIFs have a number of advantages over similar schemes of other EU countries specialising in the Funds industry. They have no restrictions on the type of investments or a minimum capital requirement, the application process is simple and their running costs are low, they can be self-managed by their Directors and at the same time if they use the company legal form they can take full advantage of the benefits of the Cyprus tax system and is Double Tax Treaty network.
Cyprus Investment Programme
Attracting foreign direct investment is at the heart of Cyprus’ development strategy, as it represents a key driver for economic growth. On the basis of the Cyprus Investment Programme, a non-Cypriot citizen, who meets the economic criteria of the Programme, may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship. The qualification may either be done personally or through a company or companies in which the applicant acts as a shareholder or as a high-ranking senior manager.
The applicant should have made the necessary investments during the three years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least five years as from the date of the naturalization. In the case where, following a periodic inspection, it has been established that a criterion, term or condition of the Programme has been breached, the granted naturalization may be revoked.
On 15 May 2019, the Council of Ministers revised the existing program and implemented new rules that enable foreign nationals to acquire the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization under the Cyprus Investment Programme if they meet certain criteria. The changes include, inter alia, the addition of two government contributions of EUR 75,000 each.
Eligible persons who meet one of the following financial criteria may apply under the Cyprus Investment Programme for the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship:
- Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects of at least €2m.
- Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations of at least €2m.
- Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies/ organisations that are licenced by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission of at least €2m.
- Combination of the above criteria.
Another important requirement that applies, regardless of the investment option chosen, is the purchase and lifetime possession of a property in Cyprus that will be declared as the applicant’s residence in Cyprus. The purchase price of the particular property should be at least EUR 500,000 plus VAT. In the case that the applicant proceeds with the real estate option, this property can be included in the EUR 2 million investment.
The applicant must also be a holder of a clear criminal record in his/her country of origin, and the country of his/her residence if it differs from his/her country of origin. Persons sanctioned by the EU are not eligible for citizenship.
In addition, persons that have had any application for citizenship in any other EU Member State rejected are also not eligible.
Permanent Residence Permit
Non-Cypriot investors, who purchase property in Cyprus of at least €300.000 and have a secure and steady annual income transferred on a regular basis from abroad, are entitled to apply for Permanent Residence. The relevant Permit grants investors and their families visa free travel to Cyprus and the right of residence. It gives investors the opportunity for a second base in Europe. Granted for life, this permit includes spouses, under age children and adult dependent children up to 25 years old.