ATHENS – Wealthy foreigners who want to get residency permits in Greece that come with valued European Union passports will have to put at least 500,000 euros ($497,495) into likely buying a single property, double the current requirement.
That was announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Thessaloniki Fair (TIF) as Greece had the lowest requirements in the EU to get a so-called Golden Visa much sought by the rich around the world.
It caught some involved in helping investors get the permits off guard, said Kathimerini, and led them to be anxious that those wanting the visas will go to other countries where it’s cheaper.
The reason given was to increase the housing and rental apartment stock for Greeks who are being shut out of the market in some neighborhoods by foreigners buying up property, and shifting it toward short-term rentals.
“Countries such as Spain and Portugal also have an investment limit of 500,000 euros, but especially the latter offers the option of obtaining citizenship, as soon as the investor completes five years from securing the residence permit,” Alexandros Risvas, head of the Risvas & Associates law firm specializing in investment immigration programs told the paper.
He said it will be critical how this change will be implemented in the program, given that there are many “open” sales during this time, which are delayed due to bureaucracy, not noting he profits from it.
The Ministry of Development is said to be looking at various scenarios so as not to interfere with the program and applications already in the works for the lower investment level won’t be affected.
It was said that doubling the amount would increase applications until that takes effect with people seeking the visas wanting to get in before the amounts are raised for them.
The ministry reportedly will also require the investment be for one property instead of multiple purchases that otherwise see them buying five for 100,000 euros ($99,499) and renting them on platforms like Airbnb, shutting out Greeks and raising rents in many city neighborhoods.