The Cypriot Citizenship by Investment programme – more commonly known as its ‘golden passport’ programme – has come under attack from certain international quarters in recent times, with the European Union promising tougher scrutiny from Brussels as part of a wider drive against money laundering practices.
Cyprus lowered its minimum investment requirement to €2 million in September 2016 in a successful attempt to attract further foreign investment into the country’s economy. But in May 2018, the Cypriot government changed the name of the programme to ‘Cyprus Investment Programme’, issued new rules and guidelines tightening up on due diligence procedures and announced an annual cap of 700 citizenship grants. To put this into perspective, from 2014 to 2017 there were 2,996 citizenships granted to foreign investors and their family members, with 2017 the busiest year with 704 applications.
Now the government has announced that it is considering raising the minimum required investment figure from foreign nationals by €50,000 and utilising part of the extra revenues generated to help subsidise affordable housing and rent subsidies for ‘vulnerable’ households.