Cyprus earns half a billion euros with passport selling programme
Overseas investors showed great interest in 2013 in a government programme offering citizenship and permanent residency on the island, said Socratis Hasikos Interior Minister on Monday. He added that Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos cash flow reached half a billion euros.
According to the Minister, the scheme was successful and the government would like to continue it, while considering that prospect for 2014 seemed advantageous.
The Minister told however some changes have been made, making the purchase of the Cyprus citizenship more difficult, since this is also a passport of the European Union.
An European passport allows the owner visa-free entry to 163 countries, borderless travel in the Schengen area, a United States visa waiver and numerous advantages including the right to live and work in any member state of the European Union.
Requests are reviewed on a case by case basis, to see whether determined standards are met, before proceeding with granting the citizenship.
The scheme provides that third state citizens can obtain Cypus passport, when investing at least 5 million euros in government bonds, real estate or fixed term deposits, among other areas.
Cyprus is one of a handful of countries including Hungary, Greece and Portugal which has introduced similar offers in a bid to fill the deficient budget.
Malta offers rich foreign investors passports for 650,000 euros. The scheme has caused scandal in Malta, where critics describe the sale of their citizenship as being a desperate move.
Polls show 53% of Maltese opposed the idea and the opposition party have said they will cancel all passports if returned to power. But as the Labour party is in power it looks like that the mediterranean country will continue its “Individual Investor Programme”. After the modifications the European Union also endorsed the Maltese citizenship scheme.
(Source: Famagusta Gazette)