Full text follows…
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you at today’s event which aims to present the Government’s recent action plan and strategy both for attracting international companies and business and for already established ones to expand their activities in the island.
From the outset, please allow me to convey the Government’s sincere gratitude to all of you, our valued investors, for your vote of confidence and trust, as well as your ongoing support and determination to develop your businesses in our country, in line with our common vision:
To establish Cyprus as a prosperous, reliable and competitive business hub, keen on providing the conditions under which any investor can thrive.
The Strategy that the relevant Ministers will analyze in detail comprises of 12 targeted actions in five pillars and takes into account best practices from other European countries, with the aspiration to turn Cyprus into a sustainable business and trade center in our broader region, and Europe of course.
Emphasis is placed on the fields related to, amongst others, High Technology, Shipping, Innovation, Research and Development, without, and I wish to stress that, excluding any companies or businesses that choose Cyprus as the country of their operations.
A Strategy fully in line with our Long – Term Growth Strategy 2035, the new productive model for the future, the guidelines of the European Commission and the targets of the Recovery and Resilience Fund.
The implementation of the Strategy and the establishment and operation of international companies in Cyprus will offer high and sustainable added value to the economy, through the creation of new jobs and increased demand for domestic services, but will also help redefine the country’s development model.
At the same time, it is expected to positively reinforce an emerging and highly performing sector of the economy, that of University Education, as it will gradually lead to the alignment of education and training with the demands of the economy and the labour market.
In recent years, several international companies of high added value have chosen Cyprus as their country of operations, residence and employment, appreciating the comparative advantages Cyprus has to offer, such as:
- Its talented human resources;
- Its geographical location and the easy access to the European, Middle Eastern and African markets;
- Its strong European legal framework;
- Its transparent tax regime and the various support services it offers.
It is no coincidence that according to the latest report of the Institute for Management Development for the World Competitiveness Centre 2020, Cyprus’ ability to attract and facilitate foreign direct investment and the adaptability of its policies, have yielded remarkable results.
Particularly, Cyprus has been named the most improved country, climbing eleven spots and ranking 30th globally.
The above results clearly show that over the years, Cyprus has evolved into a key destination for international business and investment in the region, with significant potential to become a world-class hub.
Nonetheless, we do not remain complacent and that is why we prepared this new Strategy which will enter into force on January 1st, 2022, with the provision of new incentives either for established companies wishing to expand their business or for new companies wishing to operate in Cyprus.
These incentives include, inter alia, the following:
- The transformation of the existing Fast Track Business Activation Mechanism into a Business Facilitation Unit, with a central contact point for businesses and the digitalization of procedures.
- The revision, broadening and simplification of the policy employment of third country highly skilled nationals and support staff, as well the right to family reunification.
- The simplification and speeding up of the process for granting Long Term Resident Status.
- The introduction of Digital Nomad Visa for third-country nationals that are self – employed or salaried employees and work remotely with employers/clients outside Cyprus, through the use of information and communication technologies.
- New tax incentives to existing or new non domicile employees, as well as for investments in innovative companies and for research and development.
- The right to apply for naturalization after five years of residence and work in the Republic, instead of seven that is valid today.
The Strategy presented today is part of the ongoing efforts to further attract foreign direct investment, create new jobs and, most importantly, adapt our economy to the requirements of the new era, the era of sustainable development in a highly internationally competitive environment.
The provisions of the Strategy will be thoroughly analyzed by the relevant Ministers and, therefore, I will not expand further.
However, before concluding, I would like to once more sincerely thank all of you, our strategic allies and ambassadors to our vision of turning Cyprus into a world-class business hub and investment destination.
I have no doubt that the roundtable discussion which is to follow will offer us invaluable insight and suggestions on how to further promote Cyprus as an attractive investment destination and business centre.
To this end, rest assured that my Government stands ready to offer any assistance deemed necessary in order to facilitate your business plans and investment initiatives.