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Greece’s Investor Visa Pays Off, Boosts State Coffers by €1bn

Greece’s investor visa program is paying off, Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas told a parliamentary session last week, adding that the results thus far are “very encouraging”.

According to Pitsiorlas, a total of 1,684 five-year residence permits – or so-called golden visas – have been issued to foreign nationals who have invested more than 250,000 euros in Greece, boosting state coffers by approximately 1 billion euros. The investor visas offer five-year residency rights in return for real estate acquisitions or for strategic investments.

Addressing parliament, Pitsiorlas said the program was picking up pace and announced a series of system improvements that will expand the golden visa program to include other forms of investment besides property.

According to figures, a total of 1,684 residence permits were granted to foreign investors between 2013 and April 2017, up from 1,550 permits in 2016, 968 in 2015, 455 in 2014 and 20 in 2013. For 2017, approximately 134 residence permits were issued during the first four months of the year.

Of the total 1,684 residence permits, 701 were to Chinese nationals, 357 to investors from Russia, 84 from Egypt, 81 from Turkey, 78 from Lebanon, 79 from Ukraine, 53 from Iraq, 45 from Syria, 37 from Jordan and 16 from Saudi Arabia.

“The program is picking up pace, improving and will continue to accelerate in the coming years. We are looking for ways to improve it in two directions: firstly, to broaden its scope beyond the purchase of property, and secondly, to find technical and practical ways to solve the problem of obtaining biometric data on cards for the rapid issue of electronic visas,” Pitsiorlas said.

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