The Price of Democracy Rises: Golden Visas Set to Become More Expensive

The Price of Democracy Rises: Golden Visas Set to Become More Expensive

Greece plans to raise the investment threshold for “golden visas” from the current 250,000 euros to 800,000 euros in high-demand cities and islands.

The announcement was made by the country’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Greece’s “golden visa” program offers a five-year renewable residency permit to individuals who invest a set amount of money in the country. It also allows for travel within the Schengen Zone.

Since 2018, Greece has issued approximately 17,500 visas, with about 61% going to Chinese citizens.

The “golden visa” controversy has been a hot topic in the EU for the past few years. The European Commission is concerned about:

  • Syndicates and corrupt officials abusing the program to launder money
  • The programs leading to massive outflows of oligarch wealth from their home countries
  • The “undemocratic” practice of selling residency rights like a luxury item

Following the European Commission’s recommendations, some countries have already restricted their “golden visa” programs.

There are also special restrictions in place for Russian and Belarusian citizens worldwide. However, Russians can still participate in the program if they have a second citizenship.

Here are some additional details about the changes:

  • The new investment threshold will apply to properties located in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, and other popular tourist destinations.
  • The minimum investment amount for properties located in other parts of Greece will remain at 250,000 euros.
  • The government expects the changes to generate additional revenue and attract more high-quality investments to the country.
  • The changes are expected to come into effect in early 2024.

The implications of these changes are significant:

  • The higher investment threshold will make it more difficult for individuals to obtain a “golden visa” through property investment.
  • The changes could lead to a decrease in the number of “golden visas” issued by Greece.
  • The changes could also impact the real estate market in Greece, particularly in high-demand areas.

It remains to be seen how these changes will impact the “golden visa” program in Greece and the wider EU.

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