ATHENS – Despite concerns that it could be open to money laundering and criminal activity without proper vetting, Golden Visa schemes selling residency and valuable European Union passports to wealthy foreigners, the program is being pushed and seeing keen interest in Greece.
A total of 2,432 applications for Greece’s Golden Visa were submitted by wealthy international visitors in the last quarter of 2022 to take advantage of a lower threshold of a minimum 250,000 euros ($267,485) before a raise to 500,000 euros ($534,970) became effective, noted SchengenVisaInfo.com
The new benchmark would be for property in some parts of the country and the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum said there was a 125 percent in increase in the period from 2021 before the COVID-19 pandemic limiting travel hadn’t waned yet.
Of a total of 16,411 applications submitted from 2018-22, nearly a third of them, or 4,485, were submitted in 2022 as the Coronavirus’ effect began lessening and international air traffic resumed in full force.
To date, some 3,638 requests for the initial granting of the visas is pending with the most interest coming from Chinese investors who made up 62. percent of all those granted in 2022, the site added.
The visas also went to applicants from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt – and also Russia, which is facing European Union sanctions over the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and the wealthy looking for places to put their money in the face of that.
Mitsotakis said the threshold was being doubled after reports that investors were scooping up multiple properties at lower prices, a ripple effect leading to more short-term rentals that drove out Greeks from their neighborhoods and rents soar.
The 500,000-euro standard will apply in Regional Units of Northern, in the Municipality of Vari – Voula – Vouliagmeni, in Central and Southern Athens, in Thessaloniki, as well as in Mykonos and in Santorini, the report said.