With a total of 12 targeted actions, a fresh wave of Cyprus immigration rules is making the country a business and investment center heading into 2022. From research and development, highly advanced technology, to shipping, the changes mark a continued effort to propel the Cyprus investment economy towards a leading role in Europe and make it a sustainable jurisdiction for business owners and employees across all fields alongside their families.
The Aspen Trust Group covers the new changes to Cyprus immigration rules, which include residency status, employment status, and extended taxation policies. Effective at the start of 2022 January, the attractive nature of the European member state will acquire a new boost to investment and livelihood potential while enhancing the simplification of the relocation process.
Who Benefits from the New Cyprus Immigration Rules
Following a vision and policies in the region such as the European acquis as well as the Long-term Growth Strategy 2035, the 2022 Cyprus immigration rules scheme models imperative guidelines set forth by the European Commission and the Recovery and Resilience Fund to generate a business facilitation unit, more robust inclusion frameworks, and immediate access to the job market and investment opportunities in Cyprus.
Although with wide coverage, the scheme is particularly beneficial to:
- Foreign companies keen to relocate to a better business and tax environment while keeping valuable employees and support staff
- New start-ups eager to invest in the right jurisdiction with a highly educated talent pool
- Shipping companies
- High technology or innovation companies
- Pharmaceutical, biogenetics, or biotechnology companies
- Self-employed or remote company workers
- Family members of employees under a work permit of the scheme
A New Age Approach to Immigration and Investment
Unveiling the scheme at a presentation a few days ago, President Nicos Anastasiades remarked that the Cyprus government had revamped the current immigration policy, which already included a range of incentives for foreign companies and investors, to accelerate the fast track programs in the country to further attract businesses and foreign nationals to the Republic of Cyprus.
The aim of the current measures focuses on making it more advantageous and simple to reside in Cyprus as well as more attractive for investors with family members to consider.
Business Facilitation Unit
To achieve this, the 2022 Cyprus immigration rules scheme transforms the existing Fast Track Business Activation Mechanism into the operation of a Business Facilitation Unit for foreign companies interested in establishing and maintaining business activities in Cyprus.
Under the Unit, services include:
- Company registration
- Name approval
- Registration assistance with the Social Insurance Registry and the Employers’ Registry
- Registration assistance for VAT Registry and Income Tax
- Guidance on the establishment and operations of businesses and employees that work in Cyprus
- Facilitation measures for the issuance of residence permits and employment permits for foreign nationals that work in these companies and live in Cyprus
Changes to the Civil Registry and Migration Department
In addition to more initiatives to further support for business establishment or company formation, the new Cyprus immigration rules stipulate that eligible companies may obtain temporary residence and employment permits to foreign nationals employed under businesses operating in the jurisdiction.
The submission of the application for these permits is allowed for Cyprus shipping companies, high technology or innovation companies, as well as pharmaceutical, biogenetics, or biotechnology companies. Moreover, any company or foreign business that establishes a physical presence in the country may also apply for the permits for employees. This includes independent offices that are different, or separate, from private residences.
To qualify, third-country nationals must meet a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,500 and possess a university diploma, title, or equivalent qualification, maintain the experience of a corresponding position of employment for at least 2 years and present a contract of employment for the company lasting at least 2 years. Support staff who receive less than €2,500 in gross monthly salary may also be eligible so long as the amount does not exceed 30% of total support staff and an employment contract has been approved under applicable law by relevant authorities.
Permits under the scheme will allow the foreign national to live and work in Cyprus for a period of 3 years, with the issuance taking only 1 month to receive. They may also apply for family reunification if they qualify under the €2,500 gross monthly income criteria, although family members will not be issued a work permit.
Another pillar of the Cyprus immigration rules scheme, with further details coming soon, is the changes to the simplification and acceleration of the long-term residency process in Cyprus when granting work permits.
Work in Cyprus under the Digital Nomad Visa
Already an ideal jurisdiction for digital nomads, the introduction of modern Cyprus immigration rules pertaining to self-employed and remote workers continues to drive the country into a new business landscape. After the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have proven that adjustments to workplace environments have changed and more individuals are eager to establish self-employed practices, these new immigration changes make the country the perfect place to establish residency.
Self-employed or remote working third-country nationals may obtain residence status for 1 year, and a right to renew for an additional 2 years, as well as bring their family members under request for residency status only. Foreign nationals and their family members who stay more than 183 days in Cyprus of the same tax year and are not tax residents of any other State will be concerned tax residents of Cyprus and enjoy the same tax benefits of other residents in the jurisdiction.
In order to qualify for the application process, an individual must provide evidence of sufficient resources with a fixed income level to cover living expenses that occur while staying in Cyprus. The current amount is set at €3,500 monthly, and may be supported:
- Through employment or contractual work; with dependent work or services allowed under proof of employment
- Via a bank account with the €3,500 monthly amount indicated as net income after required taxes in the country of employment
For foreign nationals wishing to include family members on the application, the €3,500 minimum is raised 20% for the inclusion of a spouse or cohabitant and 15% for each child.
Medical insurance and a clean criminal record certificate originating from the country of current residence are also required.
A Fast Track to Cypriot Citizenship
Current Cyprus immigration rules state that naturalization may be applied for after 7 years of residence and work in the jurisdiction. Awaiting final approval under the new scheme, foreign nationals that reside in Cyprus under the initiatives may submit an application after only 5 years of residence or after 4 if an advanced certificate of Greek language knowledge is displayed.
Residence Card Tax Benefits Extended
Cyprus has long been known for its advanced taxation policy for companies, investors, and foreign nationals who take up residency in the jurisdiction.
Yet, the 2022 Cyprus immigration rules have also introduced even more favorable tax policies for companies and their employees under the scheme.
- An exemption of 50% on Taxable Income for new residents-employees that meet an income minimum of €55,000 for up to 17 years
- An extension to existing beneficiaries of the exemption to extend from 10 years to 17 years
- Possible tax exemption of 50% extension for innovative company investment by businesses and corporate investors
- Increased tax discount, such as by 20%, on research and development expenses
These additional tax benefits are currently being approved through the relevant legislation by the House of Representatives. While the immigration and business aspects of the scheme will begin on the 1st of January, 2022, the tax and citizenship provisions should be approved within the first quarter of the new year.
Obtain Cyprus Permanent Residency with The Aspen Trust Group
Foreign nationals and companies have several ways to achieve Cyprus residency in one of the fast-growing economies in Europe. From investment pathways and company formation to the new Cyprus immigration rules that allow for a Digital Nomad Visa, the jurisdiction is set to forge ahead as a technology and business hub for the regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The professionals at The Aspen Trust Group have provided excellent service over the years to ensure that foreign nationals, their families, and their businesses relocate smoothly and with the most advantages. Contact our experts to find out how these new Cyprus immigration rules could make the move to the island quicker and more rewarding. Our team is ready to assist you with all the aspects that are imperative to forming your work and family legacy.