ATHENS – After being held down by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that limited international travel, interest has become keen again among wealthy foreigners who want to invest in Greek property acquire a Golden Visa.
That comes with a residency permit, including a family, and a valued European Union passport that gives a green light to the wealthy while even Greeks of the Diaspora have to wait up to two years or more for citizenship.
While it had been dominated by Chinese and Russians – amind EU worries the programs in a number of states aren’t properly vetted to look for money laundering or criminal activity – applications are coming from Turks, Lebanese, Indians and Iranians, said Kathimerini in a report.
Those are countries with political instability but whose rich can move about and gain the benefit of living in Greece while refugees in many countries fleeing war, strife and economic hardship try to reach the country by boat from Turkey to seek asylum, hundreds drowning.
Greece is a top choice because it requires only a 250,000-euro ($279,964) investment in property, pocket change for the super-affluent, and with the country’s desirable location in a country with a sunny, warm climate.
Migration Ministry data showed there were 478 permits in 2021 given to Chinese applicants, an increase of 8 percent while it jumped 79 percent for Russians with 576 applications from the beginning of the program in 2015.
There was a 71 percent increase from Lebanese, with 304 applying and 15.5 percent for Turks whose country is now suffering economic volatility and the long authoritarian rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Risvas & Associates law firm head Achilles Risvas told the newspaper that, “We observe that nations which have seen a significant depreciation of their currency, like Turkey, Lebanon and Iran, are also showing a considerable rise in investor interest in acquiring property in Greece.”
The interest from rich Indians was seen because of the United Kingdom leaving the EU and they want to have access to the bloc with a passport that makes traveling easier.