'Golden visa' program in Greece expected to attract one bln euros in investment for 2020

Tuesday, 18 February 2020 21:49
UPD:22:09
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By N. Stasinou
nstas@naftemporiki.gr

A eyebrow-raising forecast of up to one billion euros is expected to be invested in 2020 by Chinese property investors in Greece, as part of the “Golden Visa” program whereby buyers of more than 250,000 in real estate are allocated a residency permit in the EU member-state.

Despite very recent charges of foot-dragging by Greece’s often creaky bureaucracy – in this case at the regional government level – and reports of lawsuits aimed at seeking damages from the Greek state, the in Greece remains attractive, by most accounts.

Similar programs to attract major investments by individuals and businesses are now ubiquitous in the EU, with some countries having inaugurated such schemes decades ago. Some EU states, in fact, offer eventual citizenship, while a residency visa in one Schengen Pact member-state is a “passport” for traveling throughout the Schengen area.

Other competitors in Europe are the now out-of-EU UK and Moldova, while neighboring Turkey, a perennial EU candidate-state, also offers a similar plan.

In all, there are 17 different direct investment regimes linked with citizenship and residency permits in EU member-states, which in 2018 resulted in naturalization for some 6,000 applicants and residence permits for roughly 100,000 people.

Since 2008, European countries have attracted 25 billion euros with such direct investment programs linked with visas and citizenship.

In terms of the levels of investment needed, they range from 135,000 euros in Moldova to a hefty two million pounds for the UK. Cyprus leads EU states with a minimum investment of two million euros, followed by a distant Malta, at 1.2 million euros.

Greece’s 250,000-euro figure is among the cheapest, compared to one million euros for Ireland or 500,000 euros for Spain. In neighboring Turkey the figure is 500,000 USD.

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