We are honoured to have represented Greece for one more year to the annual Investment Migration Forum. Our partner Mr. Alexander Varnavas participated in the 1st IMC Advisory Committee Meeting, which took place at Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva on the 3rd of June 2019, with the attendace of the ADCOM members Bruno L’ecuyer (IMC), Austin Fragomen, Nadine Goldfoot, (Fragomen Law Firm), Peter Vincent (Henley & Partners), Eric Major (Latitude World), Paul Williams (La Vida Europe), Edward Beshara (Beshara PA), Michael Frendo (Frendo Advisory) and Savvas Poyiadjis (Fidescorp).
Greece has voted for an amendment in the Golden Visa Law in order to speed up the processing time as well as in order to offer early appointments for the submission of the applications and the collection of the investors' biometrics.
These new measures will allow the investors to apply in front of any Immigration Office in Greece, so someone will be able to receive an appointment even within a couple of weeks. At this point, we should remind that the processing time must not exceed the two (2) motnhs, according to the Greek Golden Visa Law.
Greece has voted for new options in order for a non-EU national to qualify for the Golden Visa. This recent law provides that non European citizens who invest in other options than real estate can also apply with their families in order to get the 5-year residence permits which provide full access to the Schengen Area. Among other options, the investors are able to qualify for their Golden Visas with the purchase of Government bonds, with a minimum investment amount of 400,000 EUR and a residual maturity of at least three (3) years from the time of purchase through a bank based in Greece as well as with a minimum time deposit of 400,000 EUR in a Greek bank for at least one (1) year with a standing order for its renewal.
There has been a recent amendment to the Greek Residency-by-Investment Law (the so-called Golden Visa Law), i.e. Law No. 4251/2014. On the 12th of June 2018, Law No. 4546/2018 was enacted, which resulted in a wide-scale restructuring of the government fees which must be paid upon submission of each application for a Residence Permit. Specifically, according to Article 38, Paragraph 8 of Law No. 4546/2018, the Government Fee which must be paid upon submission of each Residency-by-Investment application has been raised to the amount of 2,000 EUR per individual applicant with effect from 12 September 2018 (the current amount is 500 EUR). Please note that minors, i.e. persons under 18 years of age, will remain exempt from the payment of application fees, as in the previous regime.
The latest statistics from the Greek Ministry for Migration Policy show that the game has changed for the Greek Golden Visa programme.
In 2017, almost 763 new residence permits have been issued to main investors (not counting their family members):
Chinese nationals are still on the top of the list, posting a slight increase in market share, from 42.5% to 44.7% in 2017.
Russian nationals, who used to hold a market share of 25% for some years now, dropped from second to third place with a market share of merely 7.8%.
Turkish nationals were the big surprise for 2017, as they climbed to 2nd place with a market share of 21.6% (versus 2.7% in previous years).
During the period 2013-2016 only 44 Turkish main investors applied for the Greek Golden Visa. However, in 2017, the Turkish applicants quadrupled, with 165 new residence permits issued for main investors. According to the data, Chinese and Turkish nationals now account for 66.3% i.e. the 2/3 of the market.
It seems that the Greek programme is now quite mature to become a leader in the Residency-by-Investment market, both in Europe and around the globe.
Alexander Varnavas LLM IMCM