Greece’s golden visa scheme, which provides five-year residency in exchange for investment, has issued 46% fewer residence permits this financial year. Despite pressure from the European Commission, the Greek government also intends to revise the scheme, however not to reduce it.
The program has attracted more than EUR €2 billion into local property investment during the last 6 years of running, according to a monthly report from the ministry for migration has granted a total of 6,304 residence permits to foreigners, has seen interest dwindle as the pandemic makes travelling in general more difficult.
So far, this financial year, a total of 8,289 residence permits were issued, and 12,768 were renewed; this is compared with 17,563 permits issued and 18,961 renewed during the same period in 2019.
Nonetheless, Greek Immigration & Asylum Minister said in the report that the government has no intention of reducing the number of residence permits issued. “The direction in the EU – and this is a position that Greece also supports – is that we must strengthen legal immigration. It is a given that Europe for demographic reasons needs population support, but this must be done with proper regulations and infrastructure” he stated.
The Greek government is planning a number of changes to its golden visa scheme. There is particular concern in the Greece about the value of properties being purchased in the program.
Under the new requirements being approved by the Greek Development and Investments Ministry, the required amount for investment, which is currently EUR €250,000, will be made variable, depending on the region in which the property is located.
Candidates will also have to provide a certificate of value for the property they plan to invest in, and a number of incentives will be introduced for property purchases outside of capital, Athens, aimed at reviving nationwide real estate market, not just the major cities.