There are several ways to gain residence in the European Union (EU), one of them is to invest in real estate, bonds or business of the host country. This option is popular among wealthy people who don’t plan to reside in the host country but rather facilitate interactions with foreign banks, travel freely across the EU, or obtain the residence as a safety precaution in case of an urgent need to emigrate.
Russian, Chinese, Iranian and Turkish nationals are among those who obtain Greek residency permits because of unstable situation in their home countries. Most notably, Turkish investors became quite active lately purchasing Greek property.
According to Stergios Pitsiorlas, Deputy Finance Minister of Greece, a total of 1,684 visas have been issued by April 30, 2017.
Though Turkish investors are not holding the top position in the ranking of Greece Golden Visa buyers (81 visas were issued to Turkish nationals), their numbers are growing rapidly. It won’t be a surprise if Turks submit more applications than the Chinese who at the moment hold the first place. The Greek state has issued 701 visas to Chinese applicants so far.
First of all, political instability - it is a key driver behind wealthy individuals looking elsewhere for residency and second citizenships. Next, it is the affordable minimum investment amount, in Greece it’s €250,000.
Since the 2008 downturn, property prices in the capital Athens have been half of what they used to be. The success of the golden visa program has caused prices to recover somewhat, although they remain significantly below their 2008 peak.
In January 2017, the Greek government announced plans to lower the minimum investment amount from 250,000 euros to 200,000 euros. It’s possible that alternative deposit methods will be introduced as well. Officials were also examining the possibility of allowing foreign buyers to launch businesses activities in specific sectors of the economy if the investment exceeds 250,000 euros.
Since Greece offers the cheapest residence for investment, foreign nationals are happy to choose in this country’s favour. Over €1 billion has been spent on Greek property by foreign investors since 2013.