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Golden Visa may see 50% boost after Portugal withdrawal

Applications for Greece’s Golden Visa program may jump by 50 percent after a recent decision by Portugal to withdraw its residency-for-investment program, Juwai IQI Co-Founder and Group CEO Kashif Ansari told in an interview.

The number of Golden Visa programs on offer in Europe are dropping as the schemes are being blamed by many for rising housing prices and a way for wealthy individuals to launder money. Along with Portugal, Ireland and the UK have also withdrawn their respective programs, in steps seen pushing more business to Greece.

Juwai IQI Co-Founder and Group CEO Kashif Ansari talks to
Ansari says impact from Greece's changes to Golden Visa seen as being minimal.

Ansari said that the Greek program “is attractive in its own right” and is popular with Chinese applicants.

“We believe Golden Visa applications could climb by more than 50% in Greece with the close of the Portuguese program. With the Chinese just beginning to resume international travel, you can expect their rate of participation to climb. China already accounts for 62% of all current active Greek Golden Visas,” said Ansari.

Demand for the Greek program remains strong despite the drop off in interest from Chinese buyers brought on by the pandemic and the freeze in international travel that followed.

The latest data from the Migration Policy Minister shows that in 2022, 2,767 new investment immigration permits were issued in Greece, showing an increase of 81% compared to 2021.

This number still falls short though of 2019 levels, when a record high of 3,504 new permits was set.


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“The number of high-quality Golden Visa programs offering Schengen Area residency in Europe is fast diminishing. Both the UK and Ireland closed their visa programs in the last 18 months. Portugal will soon close its own, and politicians in Spain have made noises about limiting or closing that program. That would leave just Greece, Malta and Latvia as the only programs still standing,” added Ansari.

In a bid to quash concerns in Greece about the impact its residency program is having on local real estate, the country made it harder for investors to qualify for the plan.

Investors wanting to buy a home where demand is high, such as central Athens and the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, will need to spend 500,000 euros to qualify for the Golden Visa, versus 250,000 euros previously.

For those interested in buying a house in the other less popular areas, the minimum investment needed remains at 250,000 euros.

Even with the new rules, Greece’s program remains competitive against countries like Spain, where the minimum requirement is 500,000 euros.

Ansari said that he sees the changes in the Greek program as having a relatively small impact, adding that budgets from Chinese investors often exceed the new minimum limit.

“Chinese buyers tend to make relatively large investments of 650,000 euros on average, which means many Chinese applicants won’t be affected at all by the new minimum investment. The higher minimum investment in Athens, Thessaloniki, Vari, Mykonos and Santorini has a good side. It should limit popular opposition to the program by reducing the impact it might be perceived to have on housing affordability in tight markets,” he added.

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