19 November 2014

Being a Cypriot citizen is an advantage which entails a plethora of benefits also deriving from the Membership of the Republic of Cyprus in the European Union.

Travel Benefits
Amongst those benefits are the travel benefits that one may gain as a Cypriot citizen. Travelling within the whole of the European Union in any of the 27 Member States without the need of a visa is certainly both an economic relief as well as extrication from bureaucracy.

EU citizens enjoy extensive rights also by means of damages in certain cases when they travel. For instance, according to the directions of the European Commission in case of significant delays the airline must provide with meals and refreshments, accommodation and communication facilities and in case of a delay of more than 5 hours the airline should also offer to refund the ticket. Holders of Cypriot driving licenses have the advantage of their license being recognised in any of the Member States of the European Union.

Educational Benefits
Educational benefits are another aspect of important benefits that one may gain as a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus has two highly recognised public universities (University of Cyprus and Cyprus University of Technology). Cypriot citizens that secure places at the public universities are not subjected to any tuition fees as the entire undergraduate courses are free.

Additionally, Cypriot citizens have the right to study in another EU Member State with the same conditions and fees as the nationals of the said country. This is an exceptional advantage given that several EU Member States provide with free education or significantly low tuition fees for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. A great example of counties with low or free tuition fees are Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Greece.

Another result of the common market is the mutual recognition of degrees, diplomas or other certifications among EU countries. Accordingly, a certificate granted in any Member State is recognised in all Member States.

Healthcare Benefits
Amongst the substantial benefits that the Cypriot citizenship provides with are healthcare rights. Following the adoption of the Directive on cross-border healthcare, EU citizens have extensive and clear rights with respect to healthcare in any of the 27 Member States of the European Union. The Republic of Cyprus provides for healthcare rights based on socio-economic criteria. In certain cases healthcare in Cypriot public hospitals is entirely free. Cypriot public hospitals are equipped with high technology equipment which aims to provide with high quality healthcare. As with respect to healthcare in any of the 27 EU Member States, patients have the benefit to receive healthcare in any EU Member State and be reimbursed with accordance with the amount that would be covered by the affiliated Member State had healthcare taken place on its territory.

Additionally, with the acquisition of the European Health Insurance Card one may receive treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost as people insured in that Member State.

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Taxation Benefits
Cyprus is certainly among the countries with the lowest corporate tax rate. This is a great advantage for the expansion of business activities especially taking into consideration the treaties that Cyprus has signed with several countries, for the avoidance of double taxation, when a company is registered in two countries, for instance Cyprus and Russia. Additionally, since 2004 and following Cyprus Membership with the European Union, income that comes from dividends or interests is not subject to income taxation but is merely subject to contribution for defence. The harmonisation with EU law has lead to the betterment of VAT services and the introduction of modern means which function as an extrication of bureaucracy.

Employment Benefits
As a result of the accession of Cyprus in the European Union and the establishment of the common market, EU citizens enjoy extensive rights in all the 27 Member States of the EU. The freedom of movement gives EU citizens the right to move freely and work in any Member State without restrictions. Further to this, nationals of the Members States also have the right to work and reside in any Member State with their family even in cases where their partner is not an EU citizen.

Under the social security scheme Cypriot citizens enjoy a number of benefits like sickness benefits, job-seekers allowances, maternity allowances, pension, disability allowance and workplace accident allowance.

The law of Cyprus provides for a minimum wage for certain professions for which there is no bargaining power and are not covered by collective agreements (e.g. sales assistant and nursing assistant). According to the Minimum Wage Order 2012 the minimum wage was €870 (gross) and after a six-month employment period with the same employer the minimum wage increases up to €924 (gross).

In case of redundancy, employees who have been employed for 104 consecutive weeks with the same employer are protected by the Redundancy Fund. Furthermore, the employees who have been unlawfully dismissed have the right to compensation which is payable by the employer, provided that they have worked for 26 consecutive weeks.

Pension Benefits
All the Cypriot citizens who are insured under the social security scheme are entitled to receive pension. They also have the same rights to social insurance with the citizens of the Member State in which they live or work. Moreover, EU citizens maintain the right to receive their social insurance benefits even in cases where they move to another Member State. Thus, their allowance is being sent from the Member State in which they have worked to the Member Sate of their residency.

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 Related article: "Cypriot citizenship by Investment: The fastest route to an EU passport"