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Another change in the immigration process has taken place recently. Changes affected the time to obtain a prior to entry work permit National Security approval, it has been increased again and now the anticipated time to obtain the approval is 21-30 working days after submitting all documents.

New Eiffel Tower in Iraqi city

A three-storey building designed on model of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris will be built by a French firm in Iraq's Sulaymaniyah city, a report quoting Iraqi news agency said.

The building will be constructed for cultural and tourism purposes in Sulaymaniyah, the second largest city in the northern Kurdistan governorate. The French investor presented the Eiffel project to Sulaymaniyahmunicipality; it will have the same design as Eiffel Tower in Paris and will be equipped with laser lights showing the flags of Kurdistan and France.

Residential, hotel sectors lead Dubai real estate growth

Dubai's residential real estate sector witnessed increased prices and rents across all areas in the first quarter of this year, with rates growing faster in secondary locations, a report said.

The retail, hotel and industrial segments continue to experience growth, while the office sector remains more selective, said the Dubai Real Estate Overview report from JLL.

The residential market maintained its momentum with average prices increasing 33 per cent Year Over Year and average rents improving 23 per cent Year Over Year. While the market remains shy of its 2008 peaks in most locations, prices in some areas have now reached peak levels. Prices are expected to continue their upward trajectory over the remainder of 2014, albeit at a slower rate.

The Dubai real estate market is driven by last year's strong performance and continued economic growth, it said.

The Dubai economy is expected to sustain its growth momentum. According to the Department of Economic Development, the GDP of Dubai will grow 4.7 per cent in 2014. Tourism, trade, transportation and real estate are all witnessing strong performance and will continue to be the main drivers of the economy.

Activity in the real estate investment market remained strong. Dubai Land Department has revealed that the total value of real estate transactions in Dubai arouse from Dh154 billion in 2012 to Dh236 billion in 2013. A major component of this increase was the return of significant land transactions. Despite this increased activity, there remain few reported transactions of completed, income producing assets.

The office market sustained its recovery as overall occupancy rates and prices have increased in Q1 2014. With occupier demand continuing to be focused on good quality space, average rents in prime locations are expected to increase with 2014 seeing a broader based recovery with increased interest in secondary office locations given the declining choice in prime locations, the report said.
The retail market continues to improve, registering rental growth in both primary and secondary malls. Street shops also continue to witness popularity with a number of new project launches.

The hotel sector maintained its strong performance supported by a growing number of tourist arrivals. Year-to-February saw occupancy rates reach 88 per cent and Average Daily Rates rise to $298. The hotel sector is expected to maintain its positive performance and growth, as the government introduces new initiatives to attract further tourists and diversify the hospitality sector.

The industrial market continued to perform well in Q1 2014. The area to the south of Dubai continues to attract most attention, given improvements to the surrounding infrastructure, good connectivity, and proximity to the Expo 2020 site.

Craig Plumb, head of Research at JLL Mena, said: “Dubai’s momentum from 2013 has carried through into the first quarter of 2014. The residential sector is leading the way with continued strong growth in both rentals and prices, while Dubai remains one of the world’s strongest performing hotel markets. Office rents have increased in prime locations in Q1, but the market remains extremely selective. Increased rents and reduced choice in the prime locations may lead to a more general recovery of the office market going forward.” 

UAE denies considering plans to restrict expatriate driving

Following a ban on the issuing of Qatar driving licenses to expat labourers, the head of Dubai Police’s traffic division has denied that the emirate is considering restricting expat driving licenses. 

Maj.Gen. Mohammed Saif al Zafeen assured local media that there was no plan to cut back on driving licenses issues to expat workers in the emirate, saying that everyone should have a right to drive legally. He added that the only change to driving regulations at present is the already approved move to lower the legal driving age to 17 years. 

The lowering of the legal age, he said, is aimed at reducing the number of young people driving without parental permission and without licenses. An advisory committee in Qatar recently announced a review of driving policy in order to reduce traffic congestion in the small country, and many expats are concerned that a similar review might be ongoing in Dubai. 

Chief of Dubai’s Emirates Driving Institute Robert Hodges has welcomed Al Zafeen’s comments on behalf of expat drivers in the emirate, agreeing that everyone should be able to drive legally. Obtaining a driving license, he said, allows the individual to benefit both themselves and the country as it’s a major enabling factor in 21st century life.

There is a new decree for School enrolment age, which says that KG1 or FS1 is to be 4 years old by September to allow the child join the School. However, some schools accepted applying for ministry exceptions after priority was given to younger kids and allow 3 years and 8 months maximum to join; availability remains a challenge though.

New water purification system at Jordan centre

King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre managed by Hilton has installed a new environmentally-friendly water purification system, to mark World Water Day, which is held annually in March every year.

The plant, which is located next to the centre, will filter and refine rain water gathered from a dam in the hills close to it using a reverse osmosis system, capable of removing impurities in the water via a series of membranes.

The distilled and cleaned water will then be re-used in the centre and at the upcoming Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The project will save up to 30 per cent of the annual water consumption and will also be safely used for irrigation, washing, toilet flushing and construction activities.

GarabidBedivian, director of engineering, Hilton KHBTCC, said: “This project reflects our commitment to Hilton Worldwide’s “Living Sustainably” campaign. We are true believers that sustainable practices deliver great guest experiences and help protect the world in which we live. I expect this project to deliver significant environmental benefits for the company and also for the surrounding landscape as we help conserve one of Jordan’s most precious resources.”

Nicosia airport shuttle expands to Paphos

Airport shuttle operator Kapnos on Wednesday announced that it had begun operating a service from Nicosia to Paphos airport as of April 1.

Kapnos first began its service to Larnaca airport in 2008 and has carried around 300,000 people to and from the airport in that time, owner and manager PambosKapnos told the Cyprus Mail.
The new route, he said was designed to serve people living in the capital who might want to take advantage of the low-cost carriers such as Ryanair, which uses Paphos airport without having to incur huge extra costs to get there. The fare will be €15 and the journey would take around one and a half hours, said Kapnos. The fare to Larnaca airport is €8.

Kapnos said that in both cases there were special rates available for groups of more than eight people travelling together.

On its debut day, the first shuttle to Paphos airport carried 12 people from Nicosia and seven on the first journey from Paphos airport back to the capital, Kapnos said. “It might take a bit of time to build up the numbers,” he added.

The timetable ties in with specific flights. For instance on Mondays there are six trips to Paphos and five returning, while on Tuesdays there are only three to Paphos and two returning. Each day the first shuttle will leave Nicosia at 3.30am, except on Sundays, which will be 5am. The last one will leave the city at 7pm except Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Those leaving from Paphos airport start at varying times, depending on flight arrivals, but it will be possible to catch a shuttle from Paphos airport after midnight four days a week. Kapnos will also have an office at Paphos airport.

Kapnos said the company did not have plans at the moment to set up a shuttle in Limassol for either Larnaca or Paphos airports.

Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception

A non-Cypriot citizen may by exception apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship, if he/ she meets one of the following criteria:

A.1 Mixed investments and a donation to a state fund:

The applicant must have made the following investments and donation:

(a) an amount of at least €2,0 million for the purchase of shares and/or bonds of the investment company of the state under formation and provided that the applicant may deposit the said amount with the Treasury of the state until the shares and/or bonds of the said company are issued.

(b) An amount of at least €0,5 million as a donation to the Research and Technology Fund


A.2 Direct Investments:

The applicant must have direct investments in Cyprus of at least €5,0 million. Direct Investments may alternatively involve the following:

(a) the purchase of structures (houses, offices, shops, hotels etc or a development of a similar nature, excluding underdeveloped land),

(b) the purchase of businesses or companies that are based and are active in the Republic of Cyprus

(c) the purchase of companies registered in the Republic of Cyprus

(d) the purchase of financial assets (e.g. bonds / securities / debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus, including those to be issued by the Solidarity Fund on the basis of the Establishment of a National Solidarity Fund Law of 2013)

(e) participation in a company / consortium of companies that has undertaken to carry out a public project 

Provided that with regard to conditions (a) – (d), the applicant shall retain the said assets in his possession for a period of at least three years. In the case of a share or bond portfolio, it is to be ensured that the amount of the value of the portfolio for the said period will not fall below the amount specified. 

Provided further that the Minister of Interior shall have the right for the period ending on 30 June 2014, to reduce the above amount with regard to Direct Investments to €2,0 million for non-Cypriot citizens who are proven to participate in a special group scheme for the purchase of immovable property, which includes in its entirety the purchase of immovable property within the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, valued at no less than €10,0 million. 


A.3 Deposits in banks:

The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he is the ultimate beneficiary) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million


A.4 A Combination of Mixed Investments and a Donation to a State Fund (A.1), Direct Investments (A.2) and Deposits in Cypriot Banks (A.3):

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5,0 million


A.5 Business Activities: 

The applicant must be a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company (or companies) the management of which is in the Republic of Cyprus and that over the last 3 years prior to submitting the application has paid to State Funds (corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc) and remuneration for the purchase of business services (legal, accounting, auditing) as amount of at least €500.000 per annum.

Alternatively in the case where the applicant is a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company (or companies) that is active in Cyprus, has established its central offices in Cyprus and employs at least five (5) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid for the above (direct revenue – corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc and remuneration for the purchase of business services – legal, accounting, auditing) is reduced to at least €350.000 for the last three years preceding the submission of the application.

In the case where the applicant is a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company (or companies) that is active in Cyprus, has established its central offices in Cyprus and employs at least ten (10) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid for the above (direct revenue – corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc and remuneration for the purchase of business services – legal, accounting, auditing) is reduced to at least €200.000 for the last three years preceding the submission of the application.

For every such company (or companies) applications for naturalization may be submitted by a maximum of two (2) shareholders, who preferably hold the majority of the share capital.

In the case where the applicant has paid the Cyprus economy direct revenue or fees (as described hereinabove) an amount less than the abovementioned amounts, a combination may be made with criteria A.1 (Mixed Investments and Donations to State Funds) or A.2 (Direct Investments ) or A.3 (Deposits in Banks). The total of payments to State Funds and remuneration for services in the last three years shall be deducted from the required investment to satisfy criteria A.1 or A.2 or A.3.


A.6 Persons whose deposits with the Bank of Cyprus or Popular Bank have been impaired due to the measures implemented in both Banks after the 15th March 2013

The applicant has incurred an impairment in deposits on one or both of the abovementioned Banks amounting to a total of at least €3,0 million. 

In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his deposits in one or both of the abovementioned Banks under €3,0 million he may apply having made an Additional Direct Investment (A.2) or Mixed Investments or a Donation to a State Fund (A.1) for the balance of the required amount of the said criterion.


1. Clean Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union. 

2. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Part A, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the market value of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T. 

3. In the case where following a periodic inspection it has been ascertained that any condition is being circumvented, the naturalization may be revoked.


In order to examine any applications (M127) various documents are required to be submitted, including the contract of sale and a confirmation of settlement of the dwelling referred to in B. 2 above and the following, depending on the case:

1. Mixed investments and a Donation to a state fund

(a) Receipts for the donations to the Research and Technology Fund

(b) Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus for the purchase of shares and/or bonds from the investment company of the State under formation. 

2. Direct Investments

(a) For the purchase of immovable property: Contract of Sale, Title Deeds / Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department, Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(b) For the purchase of a business, company: Contract of Sale, Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price, Confirmation from the Registrar of Companies as to Shareholders.

(c) For the purchase of Shares: Share Certificates

(d) for the purchase of financial assets: Title/titles and other documents regarding the financial assets.

3. Deposits in banks

(a) Confirmation from Cypriot banks as to the fixed term deposits for three years of the applicant or the companies in which he is the beneficiary owner or of the trust in which he is the ultimate beneficiary

(b) In the case of deposits of companies in which the applicant is the beneficiary owner, the Certificate of Registration of the Company by the Registrar of Companies and/or any other relevant evidence is to be attached. 

4. Business Activities

(a) Certificate of Registration of the Company (or companies) by the Registrar of Companies.

(b) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that he is the beneficiary owner of the company (or companies)

(c) Confirmation as to the amounts paid with regard to the purchase of business services. The confirmation is to be issued by the business service providers 

(d) Audited Accounts of the company (or companies) for the last three years preceding the year of the application

(e) Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the employees in the company (or companies) of the applicant.

5. Impairment of deposits in the Bank of Cyprus and in the Popular Bank

(a) Confirmation as to the level and the time of the impairment of the deposits.

(b) In the case of deposits of companies in which the applicant is the beneficiary owner, the Certificate of Registration of the Company by the Registrar of Companies and/or any other evidence is to be attached.

None of the above affects the absolute discretion of the Council of Ministers in taking a Decision.

CAIRO FESTIVAL CITY MALL has just opened its' doors to the customers on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Algeria is slowly becoming a more welcoming destination for expatriates. Both multinational and local businesses are investing in the capital, with large corporations such as PepsiCo, Lays and KPMG opening new branches. To make life of foreigners even more enjoyable, a large shopping center Bab ezzouarh as opened its doors for customers. The Mall has many boutiques, a hairdresser, bank and the first Hypermarket in Algeria.

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