Government to limit Golden Visas to 700 a year

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By Stelios Orphanides

The council of ministers decided on Monday to limit the number of naturalisations of investors to 700 a year, starting this year.

The citizenship-by-investment scheme will also be renamed the “Cypriot Investment Scheme”, the Press and Information Office (PIO) said in an announcement after the cabinet meeting.

Every application will also be subjected to an enhanced due diligence, the PIO said, after the cabinet meeting.

Applicants, who will foot the bill for the enhanced due diligence process, will have to wait up to six months for their applications to be examined.

“A code of conduct has been adopted with clear provisions to avoid exaggerations and abusive practices,” it said. While investors have to remain owners of their investment for a minimum three-year period, in the case of buyers of real estate, the period now begins with the issue of a town planning permit.

The government’s golden visa scheme introduced in the current form in 2014 and amended on a number of occasions thereafter, allows investors to receive Cypriot citizenship for an investment of as little as €2m.

In 2017, the government issued 503 passports to an equal number of investors and 510 additional passports to members of their respective families, compared to 443 and 461 in 2016, 337 and 342 in 2015, and 214 and 186 in 2014.

In March, the European Commission said that it would investigate golden visa schemes of member states and prepare a report amid complaints that such schemes were vulnerable to abuse, undermined the fight against corruption and increased the risk of money laundering.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • Ingrian Observer

    Still not bad for Nik’s law firm, seven hundred a year at three million a pop.

    • almostbroke

      Baby is in on this ‘scam ‘ also , amongst others ! A limit of 700 a year ! Are they having a laugh , that’s about 690 too many !

      • PPetrovicho

        That be ten small villages every decade. Wont be long before Cyprus is just one big metropolis.

        • A is B

          That could be a good thing.

          • PPetrovicho

            Possibly, but not in my lifetime 🙁

          • A is B

            Or mine.

        • David Wilson

          Limmosolgrad

          • Neroli

            It already is!

      • Anders Yuran

        Why?

    • .ROC

      Are you jealous ?

      • cyprus observer

        No, but he’s just pointing out the duplicity of your president, and many others on the Cypriot gravy train….Who are meant to be looking after the electorate!

        • .ROC

          All countries sell citizenship the ROC is no exception, you should worry more about what is let into the North than worry about the problems the ROC may have, let me enlighten you ,due to no extridition laws in the north more and more murderers and pedophiles from Europe are laying residency in the North out of justices way, now I would suggest that all the Turko trolls worry about that rather than a legit passport.

          • cyprus observer

            So, in your eyes, I am a Turko troll?

          • Neroli

            Everyone is who doesn’t agree with him, we’ve all been accused, even Greek Cypriots!

          • Mike

            Well I’m GC, living in Cyprus and I think I have been accused of being everything (except an Argentinian or Ukrainian I think). Some just cannot help themselves assume anyone with an ounce of intelligence or differing view must be either a Turk or someone with a negative view of Cyprus. I guess it never occurs that it may just be that some want to protect the country’s heritage, protect its resident population and make the politico’s accountable. Never mind, its a free press and comments from North London bedrooms have as much right as any resident. I sometimes think many have either never come to Cyprus or if they do just for a holiday and remain cocooned in their 2 week round of visiting relatives and listening to the endless paranoia. At least thats what I see.

          • Neroli

            Great that everyone should have their own view but I do mind being accused of being someone I’m not!

          • cyprus observer

            Believe me, the ROC has way more problems to worry about than just the passports! That one is WAY down the line!

          • David Wilson

            ROC is jealous

          • Neroli

            All countries do not sell citizenship and the only ones in EU are Malta and Cyprus the other eu countries sell visas and residency, which is why Abramovitch didn’t get to see Chelsea win their match!

          • .ROC

            All the same thing, your spliting hairs, visas and citizenships are the same crap, Cyprus and Malta are very small Islands and have to supplement revenues you think if the North had an oppertunity to do the same legally they would not? I am sure your be the first to complain if the North did?

          • Neroli

            I’m nothing to do with the North only the south. By the way citizenships and visas ar not the same by a long chalk!

          • .ROC

            A rich russian would not care what he has as long as he can renew either one, and I not saying they are identical but are simular

          • HighTide

            There are passport schemes in other EU countries, but strictly based on merit, less on money. For example, famous soprano Netrebko received an Austrian passport for her artistic contributions, and many top sports professionals are performing for their adopted country with an ‘honorary’ passport.

          • Neroli

            But here they just give them out willy nilly to whoever lines up at Niks office, buy a ‘house’ from Aristo/Leptos/ Pafilia – all mates of his – at grossly inflated prices and a few million into som ‘investment’ and away you go!

          • Bystander

            Why should anyone else worry about the North if local politicians and their supporters (majority) do not?

  • Disruptive

    By limiting number of visas, they are creating scarcity and prospective applicants will go extra mile to secure their slot. Bribery ahoy.

    • Evergreen

      Exactly.

    • .ROC

      And does that bother you? if so why?

      • Disruptive

        Yes, I would like to live in the country with less corruption, not more.

        • .ROC

          Then find me a country that is pure and sweet? where shall we start? Turkey

          • Disruptive

            Again you with Turkey. Are you the same case as user Stanlio who fall in love with the Turkish guy and his love was not returned and now he hates Turks with passion? That would be too much coincidence, almost a trend.

          • .ROC

            If you look I did ask you what country, so please do not turn it, which country do you prefer to mention?

          • Disruptive

            Since you have built in bias, you assume that whoever disagrees with you is either Turkish or Turkish Cypriot, you cannot imagine that people live in Strovolos and laugh at your stupidity. Hence protest against kleptocracy, nepotism and corruption. Happy?

    • .ROC

      Out weights the pedos and murderers that flock into the North to escape justices

      • David Wilson

        Why are you hanging around London then when you could be with your peedo mates

      • Disruptive

        Are you sure you are replying to correct comment as your reply makes no sense. Take your meds and stop dreaming about Turks.

  • Neroli

    Just offer them residency the rest of the EU probably don’t want this riffraff entering their countries!

    • .ROC

      Arr is the person that got nothing worthy of inputting again?

      • gentlegiant161

        Up late aren’t we, way past your rusks and horlicks time….

        • David Wilson

          Still pealing potatoes at the chip shop in north London

        • Neroli

          I’m suprised he’s still here I see his other account is closed! One more to go

    • spitimou

      Just offer them residency. As soon as they get their passports, they leave Cyprus. Selling their houses to other countrymen, in other currencies.

  • .ROC

    The hypocrites are out , trolling I see LOL

    • Neroli

      Yes we’ve all noticed you!

      • .ROC

        tend you scum that goes to the north to escape justices from around the world and we worry about our passports

        • Neroli

          GCS go North everyday are they the scum you’re talking of??

          • .ROC

            Am talking about the the persons that take up residency in the North to escape justice due to no extridition treaties

          • Neroli

            I don’t know about those

          • .ROC

            The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (‘Northern Cyprus’) is not recognised by any State other than Turkey. Among the many consequences of this non-recognition is the fact that there are no extradition treaties in force in relation to this territory, other than with Turkey.

          • Neroli

            Do you not think of anything else but Turkey and the North?? Get a life

  • cyprus observer

    If anyone believes this limit, then they are sadly delusional. Cyprus will only limit this income stream when it naturally runs dry. I just wonder what Brussels thinks of it!

    • David Wilson

      Exactly. Thank god for brexit

      • Veritas

        Brexit or no Brexit, money and its owners, will always find its way into the UK from whatever source the money originates.
        Money from Russia, Saudi, Kuwait, Emirates, China, USA and South-America has nothing to do with EU or Brexit.

        • Mike

          Surely will as London is the money laundering capital of the world and other crown dependancies come a close 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on, allegedly. A fact often overlooked by rose tinted glass wearers. Did I read in the financial pages that 40% of high end London homes are foreign owned through offshore and dubious entities. Nice work if you can get it assuming morals and ethics are parked offshore or forgotten.

          • A is B

            The laws with regards to passports/visas has now been amended. You have to show that your wealth was obtained legally. Abramovich is worth about nine billion yet he used to sell plastic ducks from his flat in Moscow!!!!!

  • Douglas

    Most will move once they get their EU passport.

    • A is B

      Friend of mine got his and all his family passports, locked up his house and now lives between London, Germany, France and Moscow.

  • Rory Keelan

    Strong demand, restricted supply = price rise. However I am not talking the fees that go to the state but rather the legal fees that go to the sharks. I wonder how they will decide which 700 applicants qualify (irony alert)? Cyprus – the OPEC of dodgy passports

  • But the developers are building so many new towers and homes specifically for them ? I suspect they might be building faster than 700 a year.

    • Douglas

      Maybe it states (700) but forgot to mention in each municipality:)

  • Kevin Ingham

    700 per year appears to be higher than the approximate rate they have already been selling them at? They peaked last year at about 1000, but the average over 10 years has been about 350- so 700 per year is hardly limiting the supply of them is it ?

    Greater security checks taking 6 months ?- surely that implies the previous checks have not been conducted thoroughly (which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest)

    Wonder if Abramovich regrets not buying one when when he had the chance? Wonder what the UK could have done by way of investigating his background and restricting his entry into the UK if he had one already?

    • A is B

      His visa has just ran out, he forgot to renew it so now he comes under the new laws before one is or is not issued.

      • Kevin Ingham

        but with a Cypriot EU passport he would not need a visa at all, or worry about renewing it or running out

        • A is B

          Thats right, but as far as I am aware you can only stay in other EU countries for up to three months at a time without further paper work and checks. It seems a bit silly to me, he has lived there for years, owns a football club various businesses I would have thought it would be renewed automatically, but hey ho the Brits will give passports to those that shouldn’t get them instead.

  • Wanderer

    This sounds more like an advertisement campaign to bring up the number to 700, rather than a limit.

    • .ROC

      But does it matter? and so what? I do not see why most Turks here are so concern other than to comment to have a dig for the sake of it,

  • E.K.

    Tricky Nicky is rubbing his palms he loves easy money in the bank !

    Of course no word about talks because he is waiting for Humpty Dumpty to return from the buffet table ..

    • .ROC

      You really talk crap, nothing in your stupid comment makes any sence andjust shows your here to moan and troll, you must have been asleep when was god was giving out free brains,, if you got anything to say then start with something positive not crap

      • E.K.

        It is positive for Waldos bank account.

        Im patiently waiting for Waldo to say something ROC its been a while we havent heard from him talking about a United Cyprus he has all left us hanging after Akinci made his statement.

        • .ROC

          First the ROC just like any other country uses what means it has to create income, citicernship or visa to the very rich its practiced all around the world so ROC is no different, as for talks there is no point in running if you cannot walk first, my point being that if Turkey is unwilling to remove all the troops and do away with guarantees then its a waste of time resuming talks

          • A is B

            In other countries the money raised from passports etc goes to the state.

      • A is B

        Thats rich coming from you.

  • Harris Samaras

    Why to limit? Why to put any ceiling? Has any other EU member-state limited the granting of their “Golden Visas”? The UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria for instance they have not. They may call it another name but they have not! Moreover, the U.S. has not! On the contrary!

  • Maksim Sidorkin

    High demand+limit=corruption
    Right decision is growing price