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Society

Chinese, Turks, Russians Lead Pack for Greek Golden Visas, Passports

November 11, 2022

ATHENS – While Greeks in the Diaspora can wait two years or longer for citizenship rich foreign investors are buying residency permits and European Union passports through the Golden Visa program, led by the Chinese, Turks and Russians.

That news came from Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachis who said most of them are interested in buying property in Attica, the prefecture that includes Athens, where big chunks of neighborhoods are being acquired.

That has led to many long-time residents forced out as the investors take over apartments and homes and short-term platforms such as Airbnb replacing long-term renters – while driving up rents at the same time.

Greece’s program gave 5-year residency permits and passports for wealthy foreigners who invested at least 250,000 euros ($257,677) but that is being raised to 500,000 euros ($515,355) in some areas to limit the impact.

Greece has the leading residency-for-investment scheme in Europe based on demand growth in the first half of 2022, said a report released by property brokers Tranio, noted GTP Headlines.

Based on ministry data to August 2022, other investors tapping into Greece’s program are from Egypt and Lebanon and while Russia is being sanctioned over its invasion of Ukraine, Russian citizens aren’t being locked out although Russian airlines can’t fly directly to EU countries.

The 500,000-euro benchmark will be applied in popular areas including  Paleo Faliro, Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada, Voula, Vari, Marousi, Kifissia, Melissia, Vrillisia, Dionysos and Ekali.

Those are set to boom because of their proximity to the just-begun 8-billion euro ($8.25 billion) renovation of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport that’s being transformed into a mix of luxury residences, business, a park, marina for yachts and commercial space almost on the seaside.

According to reports, in the remaining Attica suburbs the requirement will remain at 250,000 euros, the site said, areas where rents can be lower than in the inner-city as Athens has become a hot spot for the young and tourists.

The issue is still open to discussion with the OMASE real estate federation arguing that by increasing the golden visa requirement, “Greece loses its competitive advantage as an investment hub compared to other countries in the European Union,” the report said.

OMASE cited data according to which Golden Visa applications dropped by 544 in the first half of 2022 from 9,619 in January to 9,075 in June 2022, the first drop since the launch on the program in 2014.

Overall in 2021, Greece issued 1,035 new investor visas marking a 10.3 percent increase over 2020 reaching a total of 9,619 in the first quarter of 2022 during the waning COVID-19 pandemic.

More information about Greece’s Golden Visa program is available online: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/eu-golden-visas/greece-golden-visa/.

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