RCBI Industry: “Pandemic has actually triggered a spike in interest for investment migration”

Article By Uglobal Staff

Immigration attorney Esme Palas is a partner at one of the largest firms in Cyprus, Michael Kyprianou & Co. LLC. She assists investors who are seeking a better way of life and are considering Cyprus for investment and residency.

“I enjoy working in this industry because I have the opportunity to meet clients from all walks of life and am able to provide solid legal advice to them, on the basis of their individual needs as well as to provide them with the different options available so as to enable them to make informed decisions about living and investing in Cyprus,” she said. “Although law, and particularly immigration law, may be seen by outsiders as a somewhat cold and impersonal discipline, I have dedicated my life to protect the rights and interests of my clients, treating them with honesty and care.”

Although Cyprus no longer offers citizenship-by-investment options, its permanent residency option for foreign investors remains popular, Palas said. 

How and why did you get involved in the investment immigration industry?

I became involved in the investment migration industry at the early stage of my working career in Michael Kyprianou and Co. LLC as this was directly connected to immovable property law, which is also my specialized area of practice. Over the years I have gained a deep knowledge and practical expertise developed from the full spectrum of clients I have come across, ranging from the individual client looking to purchase a home for his family to high-net-worth clients involved in high-end transactions in real estate.

What are some current trends you are seeing in the industry and with the Cyprus program?

Amid these challenging times the pandemic has actually triggered a spike in interest for investment migration amongst high-net-worth and ultra-high-net worth individuals from a wider range of markets

Wealthy individuals are looking for a Plan B. They are looking for a way-out amidst political turmoil and socioeconomic restlessness. Highly volatile global conditions have driven them to consider how best to safeguard their families and their wealth against future challenging times. They are looking for a reliable back-up plan in these turbulent times which has proven to be a necessity and no longer merely an option.

A second citizenship is now more than just a great mobility perk. Investment migration is no longer about visa-free/business travel. It has become an escape plan offering the ability to safeguard one’s family by providing it with healthcare and safety. In a post-pandemic environment, obtaining a second residency or citizenship has a new priority.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted the global RCBI industry?

We cannot deny that the COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on our global economy. The pandemic has caused disruption globally. This has resulted in an increase of interest in the RCBI industry, amongst those investors with foresight that are engaging in post-pandemic planning and opting to diversify their wealth portfolios through investment-linked migration as well as those who are searching for a Plan B for the safety and wellbeing of their families.

When considering their options, in order to plan for the future and safety of their family, wealthy investors are looking for countries which combine various important factors. They are not only looking to diversify risks and their portfolio. They are looking for countries with current and long-term economic and social stability and strong healthcare systems which has become increasingly significant to them as they focus on maintaining their health and wealth. They are now looking for countries that fit their needs, with a high standard of living. As it has become necessary during the lockdown to spend an extended amount of time in one place, investors now look for a country where they are happy to stay for a lengthy period of time. Thus, countries with good infrastructure, healthcare and education that are welcoming to international residents, are in the forefront of their consideration. They are also looking for countries with efficient and effective public services that can ensure business continuity and are conveniently located with airline connectivity around the globe.

Have there been any recent changes to the Cyprus program or any new investment options or streams?

The Cyprus Investment Program has been suspended as of November 2020. As a result, we have seen an increase in interest in the country’s residency program since a lot of the benefits that Cyprus has to offer can be enjoyed by the permanent residents of Cyprus. Slowly but steadily, Cyprus is getting back on track and will be welcoming back international business and tourism. Cyprus has maintained its reputation of being a safe destination for relocation, establishment of business and tourism. Though the Cyprus Investment Program has now been suspended by the Cyprus government, we are optimistic that the Cyprus residency program will continue to attract those investors who are searching for a Plan B to safeguard their families in addition to merely their wealth. The unique combination of benefits that Cyprus has to offer regarding quality of life, low cost of living, tax advantages, strategic business location, quality of life and healthcare as well as the international business environment, are all important reasons for those looking to relocate or invest in Cyprus.

What are your top business goals this year?

My focus is on promoting Cyprus as a country, which is safe and has a high quality of life and standard of living, making it an ideal place to raise a family. Besides attracting high-net- worth individuals through the popular residency program, Cyprus offers incentives that are very attractive to businesses and entrepreneurs making it the ideal location to establish international and regional headquarters. In fact, Cyprus is increasingly gaining momentum as a prime contender in the minds of decision-makers of multinational companies. It is strategically located at the crossroads of three continents, offering international businesses the ideal environment to set up, grow and prosper. Through various incentives, Cyprus aims to attract digital nomads and major companies. Cyprus is a modern EU member state with strong economic growth and a pro-business environment.

I understand that setting up and investing in a business in Cyprus or relocating to Cyprus under the residency programme is a long term and life-changing decision. That is why my goal is to make my clients’ move one that is informed and well-planned, mitigating risks and ensuring that the clients’ journey is as smooth as it is exciting.

What achievement in this market has been the most rewarding for you? Why?

I have seen a constant influx of people hoping to live, work, invest and study in Cyprus, and the most rewarding achievement has been the ability to interact successfully with people from all nationalities, cultures and countries and to make their lifelong dream happen. I feel a real sense of achievement when I help individuals, families and businesses to navigate the somewhat complex immigration pathways and see that they trust me to help them make the best decision in this life-changing event.

What are your thoughts on vaccine passports?

I believe that vaccine confidence is rising. The trend towards creating vaccination passports may be seen as a positive development as it would give people the confidence to travel abroad safely again, and to promote travel and boost tourism and economic recovery. However, as not everyone and not all age groups will be vaccinated any time soon due to the lack of vaccines in many countries, this will mean that freedom of movement of individuals will be limited. Cyprus has taken the decision to allow British tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 into the country without restrictions from May 1, without a negative test or needing to quarantine.

You are one of our top Uglobal verified professionals. Why did you decide to join our community and what has it done for your business?

It is a privilege to be a part of your dynamic community which has helped our law firm to be present amongst the leading players in the industry by participating in the international conferences that have been organised by Uglobal. It has helped us reach potential investors and network with prestigious firms worldwide through its dynamic platform and grow our exposure in the industry. It has helped us gain credibility and at the same time share our knowledge in our field of expertise.

What is your favorite quote and why?

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Nelson Mandela

What is your favorite book you have read recently? Why?

I have just finished reading ‘The Hippie’ by Paolo Coelho, which I found very inspiring, especially under the difficult times we are currently facing with the pandemic. The book is a semi-autobiographical work, which encourages people to follow their dreams. Its underlying message is that ‘we don’t choose the things that happen to us, but we can choose how we react to them.’

It is a beautiful story about friendship, love, the search for meaning and realizing that getting closer to oneself demands many tough choices.

What about you would surprise others? 

Well, as a mother of three boys and in particular twin teenagers and a little 5-year-old wannabe teenager,  I cannot say that there has been a dull moment in my life! From cycling, scuba diving, hiking, riding scooters, go karts, trampoline parks, paragliding you name it! I have tried it! I have had an active role in my boys' lives and I do not regret it for one minute! It has been rewarding on so many levels though I must admit exhausting!

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About the Author
Uglobal Staff
Uglobal Staff

Uglobal.com, along with its peer-reviewed magazines and conferences series, focuses on the global investment immigration market, offering the latest trends and analyses. Uglobal.com is a media platform built to provide professionals involved with global programs with the most comprehensive and credible sources of information in digital, print and seminar mediums. The platform was created out of the need for marketplace transparency and to more efficiently connect individuals interested in learning about the global programs - either as a potential capital source or as a solution for their immigration needs. The Uglobal publication collaborates with a network of leading experts and an authoritative board of advisors to uphold a high standard in all content delivered and events hosted by the organization.

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