Interior Minister of Cyprus Nicos Nouris urged on Tuesday land development companies to avoid advertisements that refer to or imply that the efforts to attract investors lead to a new Cyprus Investment Program, reiterating that the message from the EU as regards the naturalisations was clear and that the acquisition of a European passport should only take place when the person is related to the Member State and is not based solely on investments.
The Minister, who addressed the 15th Land Development Conference in Nicosia, stressed that the government has the intention of fully respecting this position.
He said that when the program was cancelled, around 1,147 applications were pending and Cyprus sent a letter to the European Commission informing it that all of them have been reviewed. He added that Brussels had been informed that no letters had been sent to the applicants whether the applications were approved or not, explaining that there is a process underway at Cyprus’ Law Office which will be concluded in the coming weeks.
Nouris said that his Ministry along with the Ministries of Finance and Trade are trying to improve various issues in order to attract serious companies for investments. The Minister said that the Cabinet recently amended the criteria for the registration and operation of Foreign Interest Companies. He added that further measures are being promoted to simplify the procedures for issuing work permits to foreign staff, taking into account the turnover and the number of Cypriots or Europeans employed by each company.
Regarding the issuance of immigration permits for permanent residence, he said that in addition to the criterion of obtaining a residence, new criteria have now been added which concern investing in other types of real estate and investing in share capital of companies already registered in the Republic.
He also referred to title deeds, saying that in 2014 there were 120,000 which had not been issued and today there are 19,190. Of these, 8,000 will be issued within 2022 without problems and 6,500 will also be issued within 2022 with notes as incomplete. Of the remaining 5,000, he said that the whole issue is a puzzle and authorities must find a way to solve it.
The Interior Minister also said in his speech that land development is fully associated with the parameter of local authorities, reiterating that the new model is expected to give administrative and financial autonomy to local authorities and new benefits and advantages to the citizens.
He also referred to a series of measures and reforms taken by the government to better serve the citizen, such as the simplification of development licensing procedures through the new licensing policy that came into force in October 2020 and provides the possibility of electronic applications, speeding up the process and making the whole procedure efficient and more transparent.
The Minister referred to projects that are currently under construction with the cost of these projects exceeding approximately € 785 million for the period of 2021-2023.
Heads of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association and the Cyprus Valuers Association also addressed the Conference speaking on the effects of the pandemic and the cancellation of the Cyprus Investment Program and the prospects for the future. Panel discussions also took place with exchange of views and concerns on the land and property market.