In a bid to lure tech experts to the island, the Cypriot House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Civil Registry Law.
The amendment specifically targets foreign nationals employed in the research and innovation sector, making it easier for them to obtain Cypriot citizenship.
Fast-Track Citizenship for Research and Innovation Experts:
The amended law introduces a fast-track citizenship process for foreign nationals engaged in the ‘research and innovation’ sector. The interior minister has the authority to grant expedited citizenship to qualified individuals.
Diko MP Nicolas Papadopoulos emphasized that this initiative aims to attract specialized professionals, framing it as a strategic investment in the country’s future. Contrary to ‘golden passports’ programs, he referred to it as a ‘golden knowledge’ program, focusing on easing residency requirements and language proficiency for foreign nationals seeking Cypriot citizenship.
The Golden Knowledge Program:
This legislative move is dubbed the ‘Golden Knowledge Program,’ with a focus on attracting skilled individuals in specific fields critical for the nation’s growth. The amendments primarily address residency duration and Greek language proficiency requirements.
Relaxations and Qualifications:
The relaxed criteria include a reduction in the residency duration in Cyprus, a member of the European Union, before applying for naturalization and a more lenient Greek language proficiency requirement. Applicants still need to demonstrate a working knowledge of Greek, financial self-sufficiency, a clean criminal record, and good character. The processing time for citizenship applications is capped at eight months.
Key Provisions of the Amended Law:
- Foreign nationals in the research and innovation sector can apply for fast-track citizenship.
- Applicants must have a working knowledge of the Greek language.
- Financial self-sufficiency is a requirement.
- Applicants must have no criminal record and must be of good character.
- Family members of eligible applicants also qualify for citizenship.
The processing of citizenship applications under this program is streamlined, ensuring a swift turnaround of no longer than eight months.
Benefits of the Amended Law:
- Attract tech talent to Cyprus.
- Encourage skilled workers to stay in Cyprus.
- Stimulate growth in the Cypriot economy.