Greece Selling Five-Year EU Residency Permits to Rich Foreigners

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis, FILE)

ATHENS – At the same time some lawmakers in the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA are complaining about delays in promises to give Greek citizenship to eligible migrants, the government is expanding a so-called Golden Visa program to sell residency permits to foreigners if they put at least 400,000 euros ($464,280) in bank accounts.

The permits are good for five years and allow visa-free travel in the 28 countries of the European Union, making them even more attractive for people who can afford to buy them although Cyprus has barred agencies from advertising them while at the same time the government there is offering them to the wealthy.

Greece has already been offering the Golden Visas to investors who put at least 400,000 euros into buying property although that has resulted in a slew of companies, many of them Chinese, buying up depressed properties and leasing them through Airbnb and short-term rentals, spiking monthly rentals beyond affordability for many Greeks and taking those units off the market.

Migration Policy Ministry is set to table an amendment in Parliament that expands the measure of offering a residence permit to non-European Union investors beyond the property sector, with the so-called Golden Visa program being widened to include people with deposits of at least 400,000 euros in a time deposit at a Greek bank.

The Greek Golden Visa allows holders and their families to stay anywhere in the EU, not confined to Greece as long as they keep their accounts in the country, said Kathimerini.

The amendment will specifically allow for the entry into and residence in Greece of a non-EU resident who has made at least one of the following investments in the country:

 Investment of at least 400,000 euros in a company based or headquartered in Greece (excluding portfolio investment companies and real estate investment companies)

 Investment of a minimum of 400,000 euros in a real estate investment company aimed at investing exclusively in Greece, by acquiring shares in a share capital increase

 Investment of at least 400,000 euros in a business holdings company for acquiring shares exclusively in companies based or headquartered in Greece

 Acquisition of Greek government bonds from a local credit institution, spending a minimum of 400,000 euros with a maturity date at least three years ahead

 Placing a minimum of 400,000 euros in a time deposit at a Greek credit institution for a fixed term of at least 12 months with a fixed order for renewal

 Investing a minimum total of 800,000 euros in shares, corporate bonds or Greek government bonds that trade in regulated markets

 Investment in shares costing at least 400,000 euros in an alternative investments corporation set up in Greece or in another EU country aimed at investing exclusively in real estate in Greece, under certain conditions.