According to the Finance Ministry of Cyprus, the country will need of between 3.6b – 5b EUR to recover economic costs due the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government of Cyprus decided to accelerate vetting of applications - including it as one of the 27 measures urgent measures to deal with the economic fallout.
The regulation setting terms and conditions to grand citizenship are be tabled in Parliament after Easter.
At the present time, the regulation provides a Cypriot passport for investments in 6-7 months (on practice reach 10-12 months), after the submission of all necessary documents. However, this period can be significantly reduced soon.
The draft regulations have been checked by three member an hoc committee responsible for checking the citizenship process which has submitted its own proposals. The regulations will set out with transparency the conditions under which investors can obtain citizenship. Once these are approved, the vetting process will be accelerated for the hundreds of pending applications.
So far, 100 applications have been approved and there are another 700 pending.
According to expert’s opinion, the citizenship scheme will generate about 1B EUR for the state. This partially compensates for the losses caused by COVID-19.
Also, it will help to restart the construction sector which is also struggling under the lockdown.
The government has recently decided to revoke 29 citizenships from foreign investors but practical difficulties as the law does not cover revocations. It has moreover reinforced the legal framework, setting a ceiling to the number of citizenships by investment and introducing tougher checks.
According the Finance Ministry of Cyprus, since 2013, the citizenship scheme has generated 6.6 B EUR for the economy under the program “Golden passport”. According to the official estimates, only in 2019 the program provided 1.2% of the country’s GDP.
Of course, the EU fearing that this program, called “golden passport”, not only creates security problems for Europe, but also leads to the corruption and contributes to TAX evasion, and looking for some way to eliminate this program.
So, this is also one main factor, why Government want to speed up the program. Who knows, maybe this is the last opportunity to earn money on a naturalization program for investments.