Amendments put forward in parliament last week – to apply retroactively from 24 December 2018 onwards – ban transactions through POS systems and rule that interested parties will be required to pay the sum of 250,000 euros in full by bank check to a credit institution operating in Greece, or by credit transfer to an account in Greece, upon signing the contract of purchase.
The government has swiftly moved ahead with changes to the law after reports found Greek entrepreneurs accepting payments primarily by Chinese ‘investors’ in installments for properties not yet constructed.
Once the law is passed, property sales will require documentation from the seller from the Immigration Service indicating whether the said property has been used for the issuance of an investor’s residence permit.
The highly sought after visa grants a five-year residence permit renewable for third country nationals who purchase – individually or through a legal entity – property in Greece valued at a minimum of 250,000 euros, or who have taken out a minimum 10-year lease in hotel accommodation or tourism facilities. Through the scheme, investors gain both residency rights and instant access to the Schengen Area.
It should be noted that investor visa programs across Europe have come under the scrutiny of the European Commission, which has cited security risks in view of the fact that these schemes offer both residency rights and Schengen Area access.