The day before yesterday, YPOIK announced a new support package aimed at attracting foreign companies to operate in Cyprus. If we were to briefly mention two or three long-standing problems that stood in the way of the mass descent and operation of foreign companies in our country, these would be, firstly, the difficulty of finding human resources, secondly the endless processes of installation and employment of family members of foreign employees; thirdly, the lack of places in schools for their children.
For the first problem, large international companies operating in sectors such as the pharmaceutical industry, information technology, manufacturing, etc., have long raised the issue that there is a large mismatch between educational level and specialized knowledge on the one hand and experience and skills on the other concern them. That is, although as Cypriots we have high rates of education up to university level, but we lag behind in specialized knowledge, primarily in experience.
The benefits will be enormous and their positive effects will be channeled across the economy.
This, combined with any restrictions on the employment of foreigners as a country, poses a major obstacle to the activity of these companies here, because any activity requires high costs, but also delay until they are fully operational as companies with the visible possibility of not never reach the desired stage of business development. So, any attempt to attract them was almost mortal and they gave us an "X".
The problem is solved in various ways, two of which are: first, to relax the restrictions on employment of third-country nationals and second, to create those synergies between the business world and academia of higher education so that undergraduate programs can be completed of which the student acquires together with the degree and relevant experience in his subject. For private universities this may just be a matter of business decision, but the University of Cyprus and TEPAK will have to be supported by the state (government and parliament) so that they can develop such programs.
The second obstacle posed by the companies of this kind was the difficulty in establishing and working the family of their workforce. Why should a husband or wife come to work here when the other half could not work here? It is understandable that this restriction has deprived us as a country too much.
The third problem is essentially an extension of the second. We have already seen recently that French-speaking children have arrived in our country and we do not have enough places in schools to enroll and study.
The announced package is therefore welcome because it touches the root of the problem and if we succeed in being effective in its implementation, then we dramatically increase the chances of attracting such companies. Now, what does this mean for our country
The benefits will be enormous and their positive effects will be channeled across the economy. The real estate sector will benefit the most in all sectors. To put it simply, if the measures succeed we will increase the depth of the market - an element that we miss so much.
Demand for commercial and industrial space will increase to meet the housing needs of these businesses. It is understood that in the course of time, acquisitions of some existing Cypriot companies may occur, while Cyprus will take at least one step away from the distorting small family business model.
Inevitably there will be a need to house these people. So, the demand for apartments and houses of different sizes will increase. An important element that will emerge is that the model of finding suitable spaces will be something very different from the Cypriot model. In this new model, the proximity to mothers-in-law and grandparents will not play a prominent role in carrying children easily to private lessons, but the ease of access to the workplace in combination with some services provided to them. The average foreigner considers access to the sea within a 45 minute walk, unlike us who have to plan it at least a week in advance.
The need to upgrade and expand our schools from the first to the last level is imperative, so in this area we will see positive changes. Last but not least is the health sector. I strongly believe that here too positive changes will occur due to the increased needs that will arise for high levels of services provided that real estate will have to play its own role.