Inside Greece’s Last Golden Visa Program: What’s Changing

Greece is one of the few remaining countries in Europe that still offers golden visas, a controversial 'residency by investment' scheme that allows wealthy foreigners to obtain long-term residency by purchasing property or making investments in the country. While many EU nations have abolished such schemes due to concerns over security and inflation, Greece has continued to offer them since 2013, when the country was in the midst of a financial crisis.

Inside Greece's Last Golden Visa Program: What's Changing

Initially, the golden visa programme in Greece required a real estate investment of €250,000 or more to obtain a five-year residence permit, which could eventually lead to citizenship after seven years. However, last year, the government raised the investment threshold to €500,000 in certain areas, and there are now talks of further increasing it to €800,000 in select locations.

The decision to raise the investment threshold is aimed at addressing concerns over inflated house prices and rental pressures in certain parts of the country. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has stated that the higher threshold will help attract more investment into Greece while reducing the number of golden visas issued.

While the golden visa programme has brought significant revenue to the Greek state, critics argue that it has strained local resources and contributed to rising rent and real estate prices. Some have called for real estate to be removed as an investment option for golden visas, while others suggest reducing the threshold for investments in specific regions that need development and job creation.

Despite the government's efforts to control foreign ownership of property through the golden visa programme, the announcement of the investment increase may actually lead to a rush for property purchases. Mitsotakis has expressed a desire for the programme to be used as a development tool in regions that require investment and job creation, suggesting potential reductions in the investment threshold for certain types of investments.

Greece's decision to increase the golden visa investment threshold reflects the government's efforts to balance the economic benefits of the programme with concerns over housing prices and rental pressures. The future of the programme may involve further adjustments to promote sustainable development and address local resource strains.

Inside Greece’s Last Golden Visa Program: What’s Changing

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