There will still be a wel­come in Cyprus for Bri­tons af­ter Brexit

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS - By Michael Doherty

For many UK ex­pats, the worst thing about Brexit is the un­cer­tainty.

They don’t know when Bri­tain will leave the Euro­pean Union or the terms of its de­par­ture and so have lit­tle or no idea what their own sta­tus will be if they want to con­tinue liv­ing in an EU coun­try.

But if Cyprus is your coun­try of choice, life has just got eas­ier, for the In­te­rior Min­istry has pub­lished a guide to the rights of Bri­tish cit­i­zens af­ter their coun­try takes its leave.

Bri­tons who have been con­tin­u­ously res­i­dent for five years in Cyprus will be granted res­i­dency rights. That will ap­ply to all Bri­tish na­tion­als and their fam­ily mem­bers who have lived in Cyprus for at least five years on De­cem­ber 31, 2020, the last en­vis­aged date for the UK’s de­par­ture.

In ef­fect, this priv­i­lege is be­ing ex­tended to any Bri­tish fam­i­lies who ar­rive be­fore the 2020 dead­line. They will be al­lowed to stay un­til they have reached the cru­cial five-year thresh­old, when they can ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dence.

And so, in the words of this guide, “UK cit­i­zens will be able to con­tinue their lives in Cyprus, with the same ac­cess to work, study, ben­e­fits and pub­lic ser­vices that they en­joy now, sub­ject to the spe­cific pro­vi­sions pro­vided for in the With­drawal Agree­ment.”

To make sure you ben­e­fit from these pro­vi­sions you need to have a res­i­dency card or a cer­tifi­cate of res­i­dence. You can ap­ply for these per­mits from the Civil Reg­is­tra­tion and Mi­gra­tion De­part­ment and, if you haven’t got one, you should do so now.

Pub­li­ca­tion of this guide does not, of it­self, elim­i­nate Brexit prob­lems for UK ex-pats in in Cyprus. They may still face a string of dif­fi­cul­ties, on mat­ters rang­ing from driv­ing li­cences to money trans­fers, car in­sur­ance to phone roam­ing charges. It all de­pends on the terms of the With­drawal Agree­ment and the dif­fi­cul­ties will be much greater should Bri­tain crash out with­out an agree­ment at all.

But the guide rules do at least make it clear that Bri­tons who wish to stay in Cyprus, or move to Cyprus, can do so. They will be able to buy or rent prop­erty here, re­ceive pen­sions here, trans­fer money to in­vest in Cyprus and ben­e­fit from in­vest­ments made else­where.

There are tax ben­e­fits to liv­ing in Cyprus. While Cyprus tax res­i­dents are li­able to in­come tax on their world­wide in­come, the first EUR 19,500 is tax free. They can choose whether their for­eign pen­sion in­come is taxed at in­come tax rates or a flat 5% rate (with the first EUR 3,420 tax-free).

All UK-source pen­sion in­come is cur­rently only tax­able in Cyprus and not sub­ject to UK tax, whereas, with most other coun­tries, govern­ment ser­vice pen­sions re­main tax­able in the UK. There is also no in­her­i­tance tax in Cyprus.

But I would strongly ad­vise all ex­pats and would-be ex­pats, whether they are plan­ning to come to Cyprus or stay in Cyprus, to take ad­vice. This is not a step you should take with­out first weigh­ing all the op­tions.

Wood­brook Group can help you un­der­stand your op­tions, how to ad­dress your in­come needs in re­tire­ment and how much wealth you will need to sup­port it.

Wood­brook Group is an in­ter­na­tional firm of fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers. Un­like many fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory com­pa­nies, it is not owned by any fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion or life in­sur­ance group, and so can of­fer you un­bi­ased and im­par­tial ad­vice.

It of­fers spe­cific ser­vices for those seek­ing to re­tire abroad. Its ex­pe­ri­enced con­sul­tants can help you bal­ance your sav­ings and in­vest­ments, by set­ting up a strate­gic plan which meets your spe­cific needs in liq­uid­ity, risk at­ti­tude and re­turn rate ex­pec­ta­tion. They will keep you in­formed about spe­cific new op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment that may be of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to you. Michael Doherty is CEO of the Wood­brook Group, Tel.: +357 25272820 www.wood­brook­ con­tact@wood­brook­

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