The expansion of the “golden visa” foreign investors incentive program is now set as one of the top priorities of the Economy and Development Ministry of Greece.
Stergios Pitsiorlas, who’s Greece’s alternate Minister of Economy and
It will be offered to investors spending €400,000 ($463,000) in bonds or shares of real estate investment companies, or in deposits at the country’s banks. The visa will also be offered to foreign investors placing €800,000 ($926,000) in Greek government bonds.
Despite the widespread implementation of similar schemes by many European countries, there is strong opposition to the program, especially from the European north, due to concerns that these programs work as a gateway for criminals from outside the European Union. Gerd Höhler, who the Athens correspondent for Handelsblatt Global reported recently on these concerns, pointing out that Hungary has already terminated its program.
These groups are calling for the EU to “harmonize rules on such practices. Applicants and their source of funds require careful examination.” Greece has seen record numbers of foreigners obtaining these visas in recent years, with Chinese topping the list with 1,395 permits, followed by Russians at 429, and Turks with 337. Overall, some 2,968 permits have been issued to non-EU investors since the scheme began in 2013.