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Author: Prospectacy Business Services Team

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Hosting Professionals from Ukraine and Russia

interview: Vasilis Zertalis – CEO of Prospectacy LTD

Individuals or companies escaping the war in Ukraine who choose Cyprus as their next destination will not only find protection and work. Many of them will be able to offer valuable experience and expertise to our country’s growing tech sector, says Vasilis Zertalis, CEO of the business services provider Prospectacy.

What role do you think Cyprus will take on as a business centre as a result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

In the past, when conflict has broken out in our broader region – such as the civil war in Lebanon and the war in the former Yugoslavia – Cyprus took in refugees and hosted employees from the affected countries. Indeed, many of them became Cypriot citizens and productive members of society. Right now, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), around 3.4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, escaping mainly to EU member states. Some are expected to choose Cyprus as their next stop. Furthermore, it is likely that companies from Ukraine or Russia, some of which are already active in Cyprus, will choose to move their headquarters and staff to Cyprus. Beyond the humanitarian dimension of the issue, which is by far the most important, Cyprus could not only help the people fleeing Ukraine but also benefit from their expertise in a number of sectors.

Are there job/career opportunities in Cyprus for Russian and Ukrainian citizens? If so, in which sectors?

Ukraine has made a good name for itself in recent years when it comes to its performance in the technology sector, with Ukrainian tech workers considered among Europe’s best qualified. To prove my point, start-ups such as Grammarly, Readdle and YouScan, which are now popular worldwide, started in Ukraine and were later acquired by international conglomerates like Amazon and Snapchat. Furthermore, companies like Huawei, Siemens, Oracle and Samsung run research and development centres in Ukraine. As such, if individuals or companies from Ukraine choose Cyprus as their next destination, they will be able to offer valuable experience and expertise to our country’s growing tech sector. The same applies to Russian nationals, who are leaving their country due to uncertainty over the future of its economy and ties with the rest of the world. The recruitment of experienced, top quality human resources will help Cyprus in its effort to attract foreign companies and investments. Beyond the technology sector, it is a well-known fact that Cyprus is facing staff shortages across many sectors. As the Director-General of the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB), Michalis Antoniou recently pointed out, there are immediate staffing needs in the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors.

How can Cyprus become a technology hub and help companies from these countries move their headquarters?

Cyprus has many comparative advantages that make it an attractive headquartering destination for companies from around the world. Companies from Canada, the USA, Russia, Ukraine and Israel have already moved their corporate headquarters to Cyprus, which has helped boost not only the economy but also the island’s cultural diversity. Its geographic location, tax regime, highly educated local workforce, the use of the English language in the workplace, the high standard of the services sector, as well as the quality of life here are all taken into serious consideration by foreign companies. At the same time, the pandemic and introduction of remote working policies have further highlighted Cyprus’ advantages, leading more and more businesses and professionals to relocate to our country. The Government’s new investment promotion strategy is expected to contribute to the effort being made to establish the country as a leading destination for foreign companies and their staff. However, there is always room for improvement. The private sector and the State are once again being called to join forces to promote Cyprus abroad. At the same time, reform of the justice system is imperative so that we can boost our country’s competitiveness. Similarly, reducing bureaucracy is also key, in order to accelerate and simplify procedures. This could be achieved in conjunction with the state’s digital transformation.

As regards the challenge of recruiting human resources from Ukraine, I believe that solutions can be found so that they can start working in Cyprus straight away and become easily integrated into the workforce. As things stand, third country nationals wishing to be employed in Cyprus must present certification from their country of origin’s Justice Ministry, which is obviously hard for displaced Ukrainians to do. The OEB has suggested that these employees be initially allowed into Cyprus under a tourist visa, with the documentation process taking place at a later stage. The criteria for obtaining a Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa could also be broadened. This visa was recently introduced with the exclusive aim of attracting tech workers from third countries.

Which sectors have high investment prospects?

The Government’s new investment promotion strategy, which was published last October, indicates that Cyprus is focused on attracting companies operating mainly in the tech, maritime, innovation, research and development, biogenetics and biotechnology sectors, as well as in RES. Certain investments that have already been made in the technology sector have paved the way for the island to become a regional hub between Europe and Asia. It is worth noting that a recent study commissioned by Invest Cyprus showed that the economic impact of multinational tech companies operating in our country – such as Wargaming, Apella Games Ltd, Nexters, Easybrain, 3CX and more – reached €1.5 billion in 2020, with benefits felt across the entire economy, including the services, real estate, education, health and entertainment sectors, which increased state revenue even further. We must build upon this effort that has already begun, so as to further upgrade the country’s infrastructure to attract more innovative companies and renowned professionals, while also boosting Cyprus’ access to new markets within Europe and the wider region

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Cyprus has a lot to gain from absorbing labor from Ukraine

Vasilis Zertalis – CEO of Prospectacy LTD

Due to its geographical location, Cyprus has always been a destination for hosting people who were forced to leave their countries due to war conflicts. For example, after the civil war in Lebanon and the Yugoslav wars, Cyprus hosted people and absorbed labor from the affected countries. Many of them are now Cypriot citizens and are productive units in the economy.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has created, according to figures from the UN refugee agency, 4.9 million refugees so far. Tens of thousands of these people will choose Cyprus as their next stop. Similarly, it is possible that companies from Ukraine or Russia, some of which are already active in Cyprus, may choose to transfer their headquarters and their staff to our country.

Beyond the humanitarian dimension of the matter, which is undoubtedly of the greatest importance, Cyprus can reap multiple benefits in terms of know-how and immediate needs, through the absorption of labor force from Ukraine and Russia. In particular, Ukraine has in recent years built a good name for its performance in the field of technology, while Ukrainian IT workers are considered among the most qualified in Europe. It is important to note that now globally known start-ups such as Gramarly, Readdle and YouScan started in Ukraine and were then acquired by international giants such as Amazon and Snapchat.

The attraction of human potential in the field of technology functions as reinforcement in the context of the effort to create a regional tech hub between Europe and Asia, in Cyprus. Already companies such as Wargaming, Apella Games, Nexters, Easybrain, 3CX have chosen our country for the establishment of their corporate base, taking into account the comparative advantages that Cyprus has such as the geographical location, the tax regime, the qualified domestic human resources, the high level of support services, as well as the quality of life. In fact, according to a recent study carried out by an audit firm on behalf of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Organization (Invest Cyprus), the economic impact of the presence of international technology companies in our country amounted to €1.5 billion in 2020.

In addition to the technology sector, Cyprus faces human resource shortages in several sectors. As the general manager of the OEB, Mr. Michalis Antoniou, pointed out in his statements, deficiencies also exist in the tourism industry, retail trade and catering, which makes finding solutions to facilitate the integration and direct employment of personnel from third countries necessary.

With the current data, in order to employ a person from a third country he needs certification from the Ministry of Justice of his country of origin, which in the case of Ukraine is difficult to do. OEB’s recommendation is that these personnel be accepted in Cyprus initially with a tourist visa and the certification process be done later. There could also be an expansion of the criteria required to obtain the Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa, a recently implemented measure aimed exclusively at attracting personnel from third countries, employed in the technology sector.

In recent years, Cyprus has made significant strides in establishing itself as a first-choice destination for companies and workers from abroad. However, there is always room for improvement. In this direction, the reform of the Judiciary is of major importance for strengthening our competitiveness, as well as dealing with the bureaucracy which can be achieved in combination with the digital transformation of the state, with the aim of speeding up and simplifying the procedures.

Evaluating the developments, as Cyprus we must move with speed, flexibility and implement targeted policies in order to attract more innovative companies and established professionals, while strengthening Cyprus’ accessibility to new European and regional markets.

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Τον Μάιο η ανάδειξη των «Cyprus’ Best Workplaces™ 2022»

Τον Μάιο η ανάδειξη των «Cyprus’ Best Workplaces™ 2022»

Τον προσεχή Μάιο αναμένεται η ανάδειξη των Cyprus’ Best Workplaces™ 2022, σύμφωνα με ανακοίνωση που εξέδωσε το Great Place to Work®, επεξηγώντας με ποιο τρόπο θα γίνει η διαδικασία επιλογής των εταιρειών που θα αναγνωριστούν και θα διακριθούν για το εξαιρετικό εργασιακό περιβάλλον που προσφέρουν.

Ειδικότερα, υποψήφιες για να περιληφθούν στη λίστα θα είναι όσες εταιρείες είχαν εξασφαλίσει με επιτυχία την πιστοποίηση τους εντός του 2021 και μέχρι τις 31/01/22. Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι η κατάταξη στη λίστα θα γίνει σε δύο κατηγορίες, ανάλογα με τον αριθμό του προσωπικού των εταιρειών. Συγκεκριμένα, θα επιλεγούν 10 εταιρείες με αριθμό προσωπικού μέχρι 100 άτομα, με αποκλειστικό κριτήριο τη βαθμολογία που έχουν πάρει στη έρευνα προσωπικού, Trust Index©. Στη κατηγορία των μεγαλύτερων οργανισμών, το προσωπικό των οποίων υπερβαίνει τα 100 άτομα, θα επιλεγούν 5 εταιρείες, με την προϋπόθεση ότι έχουν συμπληρώσει κατά τρόπο ικανοποιητικό, το Culture Audit© και με βάση τη βαθμολογία τους στο Trust Index©.

Η πιστοποίηση που παρέχει το Great Place to Work® είναι ιδανική για οργανισμούς που θέλουν να ξεχωρίσουν ως εργοδότες επιλογής σε μια ανταγωνιστική αγορά αναζήτησης ταλέντων.

Ο Γενικός Διευθυντής του Great Place to Work®, Κυριάκος Ιακωβίδης ανέδειξε σε δηλώσεις του ότι: «πρόκειται για το πλέον αξιόπιστο θεσμό διάκρισης οργανισμών με εξαιρετικό εργασιακό περιβάλλον, που διεξάγεται σε 70 χώρες, με διαφανή και προκαθορισμένα κριτήρια. Οι εταιρείες που θα καταταχθούν στη λίστα μας θα είναι ταυτόχρονα και υποψήφιες στη λίστα Europe’s Best Workplaces™. Υπενθυμίζουμε ότι το 2021, τέσσερις εταιρείες από τη Κύπρο (Nexxie Group, Parimatch Tech, Vassos Eliades Ltd και DHL) είχαν πετύχει την ένταξη τους σε αυτή τη λίστα, εξασφαλίζοντας διάκριση και αναγνώριση σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο και τυγχάνοντας προβολής από το εκδοτικό οίκο ‘’The Economist’’».

Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι οι εταιρείες που θα αναδειχθούν και θα περιληφθούν στη λίστα των Cyprus’ Best Workplaces™ 2022, θα τύχουν πολύπλευρης δημοσιότητας και προβολής. Χορηγός και υποστηρικτής των εκδηλώσεων είναι η εταιρεία Prospectacy. «Χαιρόμαστε που θα έχουμε σαν χορηγό σε αυτόν τον σημαντικό θεσμό για την επιχειρηματική κοινότητα του τόπου μας την Prospectacy, έναν οργανισμό με τον οποίο μοιραζόμαστε κοινές αξίες», τόνισε ο Κυριάκος Ιακωβίδης. Από την πλευρά του ο CEO της Prospectacy, Βασίλης Ζερταλής, σημείωσε ότι η εταιρεία αποδίδει ιδιαίτερη σημασία στη διατήρηση ενός υγιούς εργασιακού περιβάλλοντος. «Είναι πεποίθησή μας ότι η απόδοση ενός οργανισμού ενισχύεται αν έχει δημιουργήσει συνθήκες όπου όλοι οι εργαζόμενοι, θέλουν και μπορούν να δίνουν το καλύτερο τους εαυτό. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, στην Prospectacy η διατήρηση ενός υγιούς επαγγελματικού περιβάλλοντος είναι στον πυρήνα της λειτουργίας μας και είναι με ιδιαίτερη χαρά που αποδεχθήκαμε την πρόσκληση να στηρίξουμε αυτόν τον θεσμό».

Η Prospectacy

Η Prospectacy είναι μια εξειδικευμένη εταιρεία με έδρα την Κύπρο, που παρέχει συμβουλευτικές υπηρεσίες υψηλού επιπέδου σε επιχειρήσεις και άτομα από το εξωτερικό, για θέματα που άπτονται της ατομικής και εταιρικής φορολογίας, της μεταφοράς εταιρικής έδρας, της διαχείρισης ακινήτων και άλλων περιουσιακών στοιχείων, καθώς και για μια ευρεία γκάμα άλλων εταιρικών ζητημάτων.

Είτε σκέφτεστε να επενδύσετε είτε αναζητάτε συμβουλές για το πως να οργανώσετε και να διαχειριστείτε το χαρτοφυλάκιο σας, η αφοσιωμένη ομάδα επαγγελματιών της Prospectacy LTD μπορεί να σας βοηθήσει να αποκτήσετε ανταγωνιστικό πλεονέκτημα, τόσο σε τοπικό όσο και σε διεθνές επίπεδο.

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The Regulation of the use of Cryptocurrencies is Necessary

Vasilis Zertalis – CEO of Prospectacy LTD

Cryptocurrencies have infiltrated our financial vocabulary, leading even citizens who had never dealt with investments to devote part of their income to them. According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there are currently more than 8,000 active cryptocurrencies, with a total of $2.5 trillion in cryptocurrencies and coins being traded.

The first decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym believed to correspond to an anonymous developer or group of people. It began as a libertarian vision, aiming to free the transfer of value and wealth from the control of banks and governments, giving control back to citizens. This is based on the fact that the issuance of cryptocurrencies takes place without the intervention of any central bank. The main advantage of digital currency technology is that it is decentralized – since it is not controlled by any central institution – and immutable, since all transactions are recorded on the blockchain and cannot be tampered with.

However, the absence of a regulatory framework around the operation of cryptocurrencies undermines their use, making them susceptible to large and frequent changes in their value. Additionally, due to their anonymous and unregulated nature, digital currencies can be used to finance illegal activities.

Cryptocurrencies are created by computers with complex mathematical equations, a process known as mining. A network of computers around the world monitors transactions, using virtual addresses, hiding the identities of those engaged in the transactions. Therefore, even if the police manage to identify any criminal activities behind the transactions, they have no way to freeze the accounts, as they would in a normal banking system.

The IMF, in its Global Financial Stability Report , states that the more the use of cryptocurrencies increases, the more likely they are to cause negative effects on the global economy.

At the same time, however, he points out that the very technology that makes possible the existence of digital currencies also offers the necessary tools to monitor, detect and process illegal transactions for which they are used. In order to deal with these phenomena, it is necessary to conclude cross-border cooperation between governments for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. At present, the absence of a common commitment by states for an international regulatory framework that will govern the smooth and legal operation of cryptocurrencies, leads some states to individual actions aimed at obtaining short-term interest.

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. However, as with any new technology, the proper mechanisms to regulate them must also be created. When the appropriate institutional framework is in place and their high volatility is limited, digital currencies will establish themselves as an alternative medium of exchange.

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Key to Sustainable Development is Headquarters

Vasilis Zertalis – CEO of Prospectacy LTD

One of the most important achievements of Cyprus in recent years is its establishment as an attractive destination for headquarters of companies from abroad. Organizations with huge, by Cypriot data, turnover and displacement, such as Wargaming, eToro, NCR, 3CX, AMDOCS and UTX, among others, have chosen Cyprus as their corporate base. This is a development that brought to our country important know-how, thousands of jobs and provided significant support to the economy in the midst of crises.

Many companies prefer Cyprus to set up their headquarters, because it has comparative advantages over larger countries, in terms of its competitiveness as a financial center but also as a destination for attracting talent and capital.

First of all, the country has a wide network of double taxation agreements that is constantly expanding, as well as an attractive tax regime. At the same time, it provides high-quality and low-cost support services, while an important advantage is its geographical location, operating as a regional center with access to developed markets, both in Europe and the Middle East. At the same time, it offers a high level of quality of life, one of the lowest crime rates in the EU, mild weather conditions and qualified human resources.

The government’s recent announcement on the new investment attraction program strengthens the competitiveness of Cyprus, while it is expected that it will also contribute to the redefining of the country’s development model, with a view to sustainable development. In particular, the new investment attraction program focuses on facilitating the relocation procedures of foreign companies, expanding the tax incentives offered to foreign companies, as well as providing employment permits for personnel from third countries working in international companies.

At the same time, it focuses on a sector that is emerging as an important pillar of our economy, that of higher education. Strengthening private and public higher education institutions will contribute to the development of the country’s workforce, and will attract researchers, students and resources from abroad, while effectively linking education to the labor market, which will lead to to the further reduction of unemployment.

In a highly competitive environment, attracting foreign investment remains key to the recovery of the economy and a necessary element for the creation of a sustainable development model. In this direction, it is necessary to emphasize the promotion of Cyprus as an attractive destination for attracting quality investments in various sectors of the economy, such as technology, education and research, health, renewable energy sources, financial and professional services, shipping, sports and the cultural industry. The extraction of know-how and capital in different sectors will lead to the growth and diversification of the productive base of the economy, creating quality jobs for the local population.

To achieve these goals, the private sector and the State must work together to promote the country abroad and highlight its comparative advantages through the organization of international conferences and participation in financial forums.

At the same time, dealing with the bureaucracy, which can be achieved in combination with the digital transformation of the state, as well as the reform of the Judiciary with the aim of speeding up and simplifying the procedures, is of major importance for strengthening the country’s competitiveness.

With flexibility and telecommuting now taking on a central role in the labor market, headquartering and attracting foreign investment are not just additional advantages for our country’s economy, but its components, which ensure stability and sustainable its development.

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