Despite the elimination of the Golden Passport scheme, Cyprus is still in high demand from foreign investors looking for a second residence.
According to the Henley and Partners Best Investment Migration Index, Cyprus ranks eighth among the preferences of foreign investors seeking residency or citizenship.
The Index is an analytical tool created by Henley to help citizens and investors around the world who are considering real estate investment migration to make strategic choices about where to live, study, work, invest and retire.
The United Arab Emirates and Dubai in particular took first place in the latest version of the global real estate index.
The UAE led the index with 82 points, followed by Spain (80.7), Montenegro (77.2), Turkey (76.5) and Portugal (75.8). Thailand, Greece, Grenada, Cyprus and Dominica rounded out the top ten. Cyprus scored 72.1 points on the index.
The UAE was highly rated for “rental income potential, and the cost per square meter of real estate is lower than in other major international centers,” Henley & Partners said in a statement.
In its report accompanying the index, the firm noted an 80 percent increase in inquiries over the past 12 months compared to an already record-breaking 2020, when investors seek to diversify their residences.The Henley Index takes into account 30 parameters and 300 data points to evaluate and compare citizenship and residency schemes such as quality of life, GDP, minimum investment in real estate, potential rental income and real estate value. In November 2020, the Mediterranean island dropped the passport scheme after Al Jazeera aired a documentary in which reporters posed as collaborators of a Chinese businessman trying to get a passport, despite having a criminal record.
Speaker of Parliament Demetris Syllouris and an opposition MP were secretly filmed, allegedly trying to make it easier for a fugitive investor to obtain a passport. They later resigned, although both maintained their innocence.
Al Jazeera reported that dozens of applicants are under criminal investigation, international sanctions or even serving prison sentences.
A public inquiry found that the government broke the law countless times by granting citizenship to more than 6,700 people between 2007 and 2020.
The exposé report states that more than half (53%) of the 6,779 issued passports were illegally issued, encouraged by a lack of due diligence or insufficient background checks.
The Cyprus Passport Scheme has generated over 7 billion euros since its inception in 2007.
Cyprus has a Golden Visa Scheme that offers residence permits to applicants from non-European countries who intend to invest in the Republic.The investor must purchase new immovable property with a total market value of at least EUR 300,000 plus VAT.
Alternatively, the investor may purchase up to two new or used non-residential properties (offices, shops, hotels or other properties) with a market value of at least EUR 300,000 plus VAT. Another option is a €300,000 share capital in a company registered and operating in Cyprus employing at least five people, or buying €300,000 shares in a collective investment scheme registered with the Cyprus Investment Funds Association.
The applicant must also provide supporting evidence of a guaranteed annual income of at least EUR 30,000 from abroad. This income must increase by €5,000 for the spouse and each additional child, and by €8,000 for each dependent parent. Income may include, for example, salaries, rent, pensions, and stock dividends.