Cyprus Investment Programme: new changes from 15 May
As a part of its policies aiming to further encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and do business in Cyprus the Council of Ministersestablished the “Cyprus Investment Programme”.
On the 13.2.2019 the Council of Ministers purposing, to ameliorate the “Cyprus Investment Programme”, introduced new criteria and terms based on which non–Cypriot entrepreneurs/ investors and members of their families may submit applications in accordance with the provisions of the “Programme”. According to the relevant decision of the Council of Ministers the revised “Programme”is put into effect from the date of its publication in the Government Gazette – i.e. the 26th of February 2019 – with the exception of certain clauses which the decision specifies that will be put into effect from the 15th of May 2019.
New changes effective as of 15 May
Α. FINANCIAL CRITERIA
Α.1 Donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation:
(a) The applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation. It is noted that if the applicant wishes to donate an amount higher than the minimum of €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria A.2-A.5.
Furthermore, the aforementioned obligation is lifted, if the applicant has invested at least €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise (i.e. an enterprise that had acquired the relevant certificate by the Ministry of Finance) or a certified social enterprise.
In addition, the obligation is lifted, if the applicant has made an investment under the criterion A.3 (Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses) of a total amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400.000) of the abovementioned criterion A.3 in a company whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
(b) The applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing, but also for the materialization of other housing schemes/measures. It is noted that if the applicant wishes to donate an amount higher than the minimum of €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria A.2-A.5.
Α.2 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:
The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects. It is noted that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application. It is understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.
Α.3 Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses:
The applicant must have invested at least €2,0 million for the purchase or participation in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of. The invested funds shall be channeled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan. Moreover, investments in the shipping sector are eligible on the basis of measurable criteria that will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.
The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least 5 (five) Cypriot citizens or citizens of European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase, if more than one applicant invest simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company.
Α.4 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission :
The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed/registered and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Programme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. It is permitted for these AIFs or RAIFs to invest in secondary market stock-market values of the Cyprus Stock Exchange an amount that does not exceed the €200.000. In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Programme will be retained for at least 5 (five) years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministry of Finance with reference to the value of the initial investment.
The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion. It is noted that the purchase by an AIF or RAIF of units of other AIFs or RAIFs is not consideredeligible.
Α.5 Combination of the aforementioned investments:
The applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0 million.