Chinese, Russians drawn to Greek visa for investment plan

Residency to Russia, China investors

Chinese nationals have topped the list of some 1,500 investors that been granted residency in Greece as part of its golden visa program.

The scheme is part of Europe wide initiative aimed at drawing investments and offers a five year residency to non EU nationals when they invest more than 250,000 euros in property or other investments. Residency permits are also offered to investor's family members and can be renewed after five years.

According to Finance Ministry data cited by state television ERT, 1,573 residency permits have been since Greece launched the program in 2013, of which 664 went to Chinese investors. Second on the list were investors from Russia (348) that have been encouraged recently by the stable ruble, followed by Egypt (77), Lebanon (73) and Ukraine (67).

In comparison with other EU countries, such as Cyprus, the Golden visa program has had limited success in Greece. Government officials met with representatives from the real sectors on Thursday to look into ways to boost the program.