Cyprus in General
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and Sardinia. It is located in the East Mediterranean, neighboring Israel, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. It is well positioned right at the crossroads of the three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa). It has a cost line of 648km and an area of 9251 sq km. Cyprus is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It enjoys a fine Mediterranean climate with dry summers and mild winters and with sunshine for more than 340 days per year.
The island is an ancient land, one of the oldest recorded in the world with eleven thousand years of history. It has been occupied through the ages by various races including Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, French, Venetians, Turks and British. However, it was the Greeks who originally settled in Cyprus in 1300 BC who had a lasting influence on the language, religion and culture of the island. A former British colony, it became an independent republic in 1960. The British have definitely left their mark on commerce, law, administration and other areas.
Cyprus joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Cyprus is a Presidential Democratic state. The Executive authority is vested in the President who is elected for a five year term by universal vote, and exercised by a Council of Ministers appointed by the President. The Legislative authority of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives. House Members are elected by universal vote every five years. The administration of Justice is exercised by the Judiciary, which is a separate and independent body.
The population is 866,000 at the end of 2012. Greek Cypriots form the largest ethnic group accounting for about 80% of the population. The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is situated in the heart of the island with a population of approximately 330,000. Cyprus possesses a well-trained and versatile labor force with wide experience and fluency in English and other languages. In fact Cyprus has the highest percentage of university graduates per capita in the European Union.
Cyprus has a market-driven economy supported by a stable democracy and driven by a diverse, well-educated, and skilled workforce. The market economy is dominated by the service sector, which accounts for nearly 80% of GDP. Tourism, financial services, and real estate are the most important sectors.
The Government of Cyprus welcomes foreign direct investment supporting the economic development priorities of the country.
Visiting and living in Cyprus
The location and best type of Mediterranean climate, together with the well known hospitality of Cypriots make the island an ideal place to visit and live.
Foreign employees of international business entities may enter the Republic under the status of expatriate employees of international business entities. Aliens wishing to retire in Cyprus are granted a residence permit provided they can satisfy the authorities that they have enough income from abroad to support them in Cyprus. Substantial tax benefits are offered to foreign nationals who wish to work and reside in Cyprus.
Cyprus has two international airports. Many international airlines have regular flights to all major Middle East and European destinations.