The Cyprus investment immigration program has become so successful that it warrants comparison with some of the foremost programs in the world.
Programs for residence and citizenship on the island nation have drawn billions in investment, with the key benefit of access to the European Union.
The Cyprus Residence Investor Program is vastly different to the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, Canada’s most popular investment-based immigration program.
The QIIP is aimed at helping high net worth individuals gain permanent residence status to come and live in Canada. Political stability, developed education system, government healthcare and excellent quality of life are some of the key draws of the Quebec investor program.
Cyprus gears its residence program towards boosting its property market, requiring candidates to purchase a house worth €300,000 or more on the island. Candidates are only required to visit the country once every two years.
It shows that investment immigration programs vary vastly in terms of their requirements depending on the desired outcome.
Compared: QIIP vs Cyprus Residence Investor Program
|QIIP||Cyprus Residence Investor Program|
|Investment threshold||$1.2 million
|Purchase a dwelling or any other property of minimum market value of €300,000
Deposit €30,000 with a financial institution in Cyprus
|Net worth requirement||$2 million||Secured annual income of not less than €30,000, rising by €5,000 for each dependent included in application|
|Nature of investment||Passive investment over 5 years bearing no interest||Property purchase and bank deposit|
|Residence qualification||Immediate permanent residence||Residence permit|
|Processing time||Asian-based investors who make up majority of candidates wait 3-4 years||2 months|
|Physical presence requirement||To maintain permanent residence, you must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. To qualify for citizenship, you must be physically present for three years in the last five, as well as meet other requirements.||Whole process can be completed from outside Cyprus. Candidate must visit country to obtain permit. Each person included in application must visit country once in two years|
|Business experience required?||Yes, two years in the last five of suitable management or business experience.||No|
|Application window||The QIIP sets managed application periods, with the recent threshold set at 1,900 applications, including a maximum of 1,330 from China, Hong Kong and Macao. With families, the program welcomes 5,000 new permanent residents each year. The next application period is expected to open in Q3 2018.||Remains open|
|Financing available?||Yes, formal financing schemes available||No|
|Controversies||The main controversy surrounding the QIIP is that investors use it as a back door to Canada (Vancouver and Toronto). Despite attempts to make investors state their intention to reside in Quebec, once they have permanent residence status, they are free to move anywhere in Canada. The program has been blamed for inflating house prices in Vancouver and Toronto.||Cyprus was one of the worst-hit European Union countries during the 2008 financial crisis, with its banks at one point refusing withdrawals. However, it has emerged from that downturn thanks in part to its residence and citizenship-by-investment programs. The Cyprus programs feature some of the quickest processing times available, raising questions over adequate due diligence. The Cyprus government is regularly forced to defend the program, particularly given EU officials are not big fans of its members selling residence and citizenship.|
|Political climate||Canada’s political climate is stable and welcoming to new immigrants.||The island of Cyprus is divided between Greece in the south and Turkey in the north. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to unify the nation. There is no indication of instability from the Greek south, which operates the residence and citizenship programs.|
|Program stability||The QIIP has just increased its investment and net worth thresholds for the first time in nearly a decade. The program is a well-established part of the Canadian immigration landscape.||Cyprus runs both residence and citizenship programs known for their short processing times and relatively low investment thresholds. With access to the European Union, they are two of the most popular investment immigration programs, drawing billions of euros in investment to the island nation|
Choosing Between Quebec and Cyprus
The Quebec investor and the Cyprus Residence Investor Program are geared towards different kinds of investment immigration candidate.
In Quebec, candidates get access to a developed, stable country with cold winters but warmer summers. In Cyprus, candidates are drawn to the beach-going lifestyle of a Mediterranean island.
Quebec and Cyprus are examples of programs on different ends of the investment immigration spectrum.
The main competitors for the Cyprus residence program are European rivals such as Portugal and Malta.
Quebec’s program has a higher investment threshold, but the investment is guaranteed and linked to an approved financing avenue.
In Cyprus, candidates are required to invest in a property market that has seen some instability, particularly given the impact of the global financial crisis, but the threshold is significantly lower.
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