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The experience of foreign businessmen in Cyprus

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The experience of foreign businessmen in Cyprus

Insider / ΚΥΠΕ

The Cypriot government on Friday presented to the business community its new strategy for attracting and facilitating the expansion of foreign companies in Cyprus, focusing on facilitating the processes for attracting talent especially in the fields of technology, innovation, shipping, research and development, during a roundtable discussion at the Presidential Palace.

The new strategy was formulated after government ministers listened to the problems and demands of foreign businessmen, some of whom during the roundtable discussion strongly complained about time-consuming procedures or “inhumane behavior” of government agencies, expressing the hope that this vision includes the new strategy will be incorporated by government agencies.

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During his presentation, Minister of Finance Konstantinos Petridis said that the vision for a new Cyprus is being realized and thanked the investors who chose Cyprus as a place of business, place of residence and investment, consumption and expansion of their business.

“In cooperation with you, we tried to obtain a holistic incentive program to help expand your business in Cyprus,” he said.

The Minister also said that after the investors pointed out some distortions such as the need to facilitate the process of relocation of employees, the need for tax incentives, the opening of access to the labor market to employees' spouses, the need for incentives to attract talent but also for fast licensing procedures, the Government incorporated all this into the incentive program. He added that this is an example that government policy moves quickly without getting lost in bureaucratic procedures.

He also said that the program will enter into force on January 1, 2022, provided that two bills are passed by Parliament, and noted that the Government is committed to submit the bills by the end of the year.

The Minister also told investors that their presence in Cyprus strengthens the resilience of the country's economy and helped mitigate the effects of the pandemic. “You are one of the factors that contributed both to a lower recession in Cyprus compared to other European countries, but also to a faster recovery by 2022,” he said.

For her part, Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Natasa Pileidou said that the new strategy and the Business Facility Unit is an upgrade of the International Companies Rapid Reaction Mechanism launched in October 2020, which was embraced and achieved despite the limited . He added that the Mechanism attracted 22 companies from around the world.

“So there is every reason to be optimistic about this new strategy, because it includes everything we have learned from you,” he said, noting that the goal is not “just to introduce incentives, but to make people's lives easier.”

Employment of third country nationals

Interior Minister Nikos Nouris said the government is using the strategy to facilitate existing companies and try to attract more foreign companies wishing to operate in Cyprus.

“We believe that such a development will be a catalyst for the creation of growth dynamics and conditions for the long-term enhancement of our economic prosperity,” he said.

Regarding the employment of third-country nationals, he said the new strategy abolishes quotas for managers, specialists and key staff positions. Companies, he added, can freely employ any number of highly qualified third-country nationals under certain simple conditions. He also said that the new strategy further encourages family reunification in order to facilitate the employment of third-country nationals.

“By modernizing all the above procedures, we are moving away from the bureaucratic procedures of the past, facilitating companies and applicants from third countries,” he said.

He said that as of January 1 this year, almost 270 new companies for the employment of third-country nationals with favorable provisions have already been registered in the register and in the immigration department, compared to 198 registered in 2020. On November 1, he said, almost 600 residence permits were approved for employment in foreign interest companies compared to 480 at the end of last year, which was an increase of almost 25%.

“We believe that the above reforms will directly contribute to increasing liquidity and will create a large inflow of new capital from abroad,” he said, adding that they also expect additional jobs.

Undersecretary of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriakos Kokkinos said in his speech that the new strategy establishes “a new kind of relationship, an approach of cooperation and dialogue on how to interact between us”.

He stated that the strategy includes an action plan with time frames “for dynamic execution” and asked the companies operating in Cyprus to contribute and cooperate closely for the Cypriot digital transformation.

Highlighting the geographical position of Cyprus, Mr. Kokkinos stressed that the country is a natural choice to be recognized as the technological capital of the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We want to contribute and make a living, sustainable pillar of the economy by working with you. “Together, I firmly believe that we can co-create our future and shape digital Cyprus.”

Foreign businessmen

Alexey Gubarev, co-founder of Bala praised the advantages of Cyprus and referred to the technology islands initiative that aims to accelerate innovation and technological development in Cyprus with 140 member companies employing 7,500 people in Cyprus. “We live here, we see Cyprus as a home and we want to grow with it,” he said.

Hamza Afifi, Public Relations Manager of BrainRocket said that his company started its activities in Cyprus in 2020 and today employs 300 people and aspires to reach 1,000 by 2022.

“Cyprus is strategically located in the middle of Africa, Asia and Europe,” he said.

However, he added that during the operation of the company they faced challenges especially with the immigration department and added that the fast process will help the company to meet its needs. “When our people go to make an appointment in Limassol with the Immigration Department it takes about two months, while if we had a quick process it would be very useful to attract talent from non-EU countries,” he said.

In addition, Arthur Mamedov, CEO of The Soul Publishing, a Limassol-based company with 400 employees, three-quarters of whom are local recruits, spoke of a “fundamental improvement”.

He also referred to the problems related to immigration as the company “buys talent around the world” noting that the talents will not only look at pay but will look at how a country would help them settle and the path to citizenship.

Prabha Jha, Managing Director of the MSCH Shipmanagement Group, said that since 2008 the Cyprus office manages 470 ships, making the office the largest shipping company in the world from one office, adding that the company has contributed more than 30 million euros to the local economy.

He welcomed the new steps taken to allow long-term work permits, family reunification and allow spouses to work. “These are steps in the right direction,” he said, expressing hope that the ministers' vision “will reach the last person working in the Immigration Department and any other departments.”

Complaints about time consuming procedures

An Indian businessman who said he had been working in Cyprus since 1989 complained about the lengthy procedures in various government departments.

He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer. offices are really inhuman. ” He said that two months ago, 160 calls were made in two weeks for a very simple matter to the Population Department to make an appointment, which they failed to do and they had to pay 200 euros to a broker they found across the street and the matter was settled in one day. .

“We came because many of us fell in love with the island, the nature of the people, the cultural heritage and the environment,” he said, noting that he has now relocated to Norway.

He also expressed his great frustration with the destruction of the environment in Cyprus, the forest fires, the destruction of the coastline and the uncontrolled traffic problem, noting that “it seems that the Municipalities are absent, it seems that the government is indifferent. Concluding, he called on Cyprus to put environmental protection “as the highest need for the country”.

Source: www.philenews.com

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