26 September, 2019

What Everyone Should Know About the Cyprus Investment Programme

Cyprus can ensure that its citizenship programme delivers a lasting and sustainable win-win solution for the country’s native and naturalized citizens.

The Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP), which grants non-European citizens who invest over €2 million in the country the opportunity to apply for Cyprus citizenship, was first launched in 2013. And every so often, voices – both in Cyprus and from the EU – are raised, criticizing the programme for by-products that are deemed unsavoury.

While it is true that there have been a few serious problems related to the CIP, especially in its early days, the fact is that over the years, a series of definitive amendments and revised conditions have ironed out most of the hazards. Even then, both the programme itself and every applicant is still always placed under scrutiny. By carefully vetting each individual, with extensive background checks and warnings that citizenship can and will be revoked if warranted, Cyprus is making every effort to reinforce the value of the CIP, for applicants and above all for its citizens and the island’s economy.

Investments in property – for everyone

At the core of the CIP is the applicant’s investment in property, which has given the property market and construction industry a powerful boost, as evident in the luxurious developments across the island. Exclusive villas, as well as ultra-lux high-rise apartment blocks that cannot be overlooked, are largely linked to demand from investors. But now there are other developments that are still widely unknown and could be regarded as even more valuable: the projects undertaken by the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (CLDC).

As per the latest amendments to the CIP, which were approved by the Council of Ministers in February and implemented in May 2019, every applicant is now required to make a donation of €75.000 to the Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation, and an equal donation to the CLDC.

The Cyprus Land Development Corporation was founded by the Cyprus Government in 1980 and is responsible for the implementation of the Government’s housing policy. After being suspended for five years, the CLDC resumed its development programmes in 2017 when the Cyprus economy showed its first real signs of recovery from the financial crisis.

Since the introduction of the latest CIP amendment in May, requiring the donation of €75.000 to the CLDC, the organization has already received €525.000 from seven applications. This requirement is not likely to be lifted anytime soon, and at the same time, is not putting off interest from serious investors. Together with the donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation, it is starting to reshape public perception of the CIP, for the better.

Social housing projects across the island

According to the President of the CLDC, Marios Pelekanos, the organization’s 2020 budget includes over €20 million which are earmarked for the development of 180 new units to be delivered by 2023. Projects are spread across Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca, where demand is highest and will be launched in phases. The first set of citizens’ applications has already been received and will soon be examined.

The bottom line is this: With the right vision and measures that will clearly benefit the public at large, Cyprus can ensure that its citizenship programme delivers a lasting and sustainable win-win solution for the country’s native and naturalized citizens.

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Yiannos Trisokkas

Yiannos Trisokkas

Yiannos Trisokkas is the Director of Casamont Cyprus Ltd overseeing operations in Cyprus and Greece. He has also been the Managing Partner of Henley & Partners Cyprus Ltd since 2013, with Greece’s Golden Visa Program within his ambit. He serves as the Chairman of the Real Estate Committee and Member of the Management Board of Henley & Partners.