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Elena Damianou: The investors community has embraced the government’s business attraction programme

The government’s programme to attract foreign businesses has been embraced by the island’s investors community, while the additional measures announced recently will allow Cyprus to remain a trusted and reliable business hub, according to Elena Damianou, Head of the government’s Business Facilitation Unit (BFU).

“As a Business Facilitation Unit, we would like to express our appreciation to investors that choose Cyprus to live, do business and contribute to the diversification of our economy,” Damianou told CBN. “Their presence confirms that the government’s business attraction programme was embraced by the investors community. Moreover, it’s of our own belief that the new incentives announced by President (Nikos) Christodoulides, will allow Cyprus to remain a trusted and reliable business hub, where investors can continue to invest and operate with confidence.”

Almost 2,000 foreign-interest companies have registered with the BFU since it was established under the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry in 2022, as part of the government’s Strategy to Attract Investments and Talent.

Furthermore, the BFU’s recently-launched online digital platform for renewable energy sources (RES) projects has attracted 20 projects so far, according to Damianou.

“Our online digital platform for RES Projects was launched a few weeks ago. In the first phase, the digital platform offers the possibility for the digital submission of applications for the licensing of projects producing energy from RES,” she explained.

She also provided figures showing the work the BFU has done so far.

According to the data, in 2022, a total of 1,640 companies registered with the Register of Foreign Interest Companies, with the Civil Registry and Migration Department issuing 12,402 work permits, 10,027 family reunification permits and 2,348 dependent visitor permits.

A total of 22,429 licences were issued against 9,000 licences for 2021.

In 2023, 286 foreign companies were registered for which the Civil Registry and Migration Department issued 6,624 work permits, 8,662 family reunification permits and 854 dependent visitor permits. A total of 15,286 licences were issued.

In 2024 so far, 60 companies have registered.

Meanwhile, 14 RES projects and six RES energy production & storage projects have so far been included in the new process, the office said.

Last week, the government presented the progress it has made in implementing the Strategy to Attract Investments and Talent during a meeting with some of the island’s biggest foreign investors. The event, held in cooperation with Invest Cyprus, was a follow-up to a round-table discussion that was held with investors last June.

The Strategy started being implemented in 2022 and was further reinforced with additional actions that were approved by the Council of Ministers on 7 February this year.

The new additions include adoption and implementation of the "Blue Card", to facilitate the movement of workers within the EU aimed at highly skilled employment; a new Housing Policy, specifically the "Built-to-Rent" plan and the revision of urban planning incentives to increase the construction and supply of housing units; the implementation of the Law for the Facilitation of Strategic Investments; measures to ensure the smooth continuation of the education of investors’ children and workers who settle in Cyprus; and strengthening access to financing by promoting the creation of the National Development Agency and the establishment of the Cyprus Capital Financing Fund.

Reference was also made to the digitisation of the procedures related to the registration of companies and the acquisition of the required permits for Renewable Energy Sources (RES) projects.

“We, at the BFU, stay committed in providing investors with facilitation, guidance and any other assistance they might need, so as to grow or set up their business in Cyprus in a prompt and efficient way,” Damianou concluded.

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