Changes to Golden Visa heading to lawmakers

Changes to Golden Visa to be tabled in parliament

Greece is preparing to change its Golden Visa for investors, a law providing non EU nationals with a five year residency permit in exchange for investments, in a draft bill that will be tabled in parliament soon, said a government official on Monday.

In a bid to draw foreign investors, Greece introduced the law in 2013 offering residency to those that invest 250,000 euros, or more, in real estate. But interest was slow in coming as other European countries also vied for capital from foreign investors by offering similar programs.

Since 2015 the visa program in Greece has shown strong growth with investors from China, Russia and Turkey leading the charge, helping prop up demand in pockets of Greece’s heavily battered real estate.

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But there have been signs in recent months that strong demand may be faltering and this has prompted Greece to examine changes to the scheme.

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Among the changes being examined is offering the visa to investors who put their money in stocks and bonds, not just real estate. The 250,000 euros minimum to qualify for the residency permit, the cheapest in Europe, is likely to remain unchanged.

The government source said the changes have yet to be finalized but will be soon be after top state officials met with senior bankers on the issue last week.