Greek Golden Visa Program: One of the Most Competitive Programs in Europe
Great participation and intense interest by the audience followed the one day forum on the Greek Golden Visa Program co-organized by Enterprise Greece (www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr) and the Investment Migration Council (http://investmentmigration.org), on Monday, May 29 in Athens, Greece. The event was attended by more than 350 executives from the real estate market, the banking and the broader business sector, as well as by representatives of law firms active in the Program.
The event was welcomed by the Deputy Minister of Economy and Development, Mr. Stergios Pitsiorlas, and the Deputy Minister of Immigration Policy, Mr. Ioannis Balafas. Addressing the audience, Mr. Pitsiorlas pointed out that the Greek program is a major development option for the country and expresses, like the corresponding European programs, the need for Europe to remain an open society with a high level of security and democracy.
In his speech, Mr Balafas highlighted the program’s growth outlook and its significant potential to increase the level of Foreign Direct Investment in the country. He pointed out that the Ministry of Migration Policy is dedicated to taking quick decisions and facilitating the necessary procedures in order to assist investors and avoid administrative delays.
Mr. Stannard, Managing Director of Hudson Troy, then presented an analytical overview and a comparative analysis of the European investment immigration programs, and in particular, the programs of Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Cyprus, Malta, the United Kingdom and Austria. The presentation was focused on the investment options they offer, and their strengths and weaknesses. In relation to Greece, the important point that was mentioned is that the Greek program ranks first offering the most competitive entry level fee (250,000 Euros).
Mrs. Nadine Goldfoot, a member of the Investment Migration Council’s Advisory Committee followed, and she referred to the different models of investment immigration programs that have been developed internationally, underlining that simplicity is the key word for an attractive program.
The first part of the event closed with an intervention by Dr. Juerg Stefen, Group Chief Operating Officer of Henley & Partners. Dr Stefen identified in detail the factors that affect the success of a program, focusing on features like the investment options available, the incentives offered to international agents to promote it effectively, the international positioning of the country and its attractiveness as a destination.
The second part of the forum included a panel discussion moderated by Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Investment Migration Council. From the Greek side, Athanasios Vitsentzatos, Rapporteur / Legal Migration Expert of the Ministry of Migration Policy and Dr. Angela Michalopoulou, Director General for Investments at Enterprise Greece, participated and presented the Greek Program in detail.
Mr. Vitsenzatos referred to the program’s advantages, focusing mainly on the non-mandatory presence of the investor in the country, the permanent character of the residence permit, provided that the investor keeps ownership of the property, the extension of the program to family members (ascendants and descendants), as well as the prospects offered for developing additional business initiatives that will provide the opportunity to gain residence permit for investment activity (the second option of the program).
In her intervention, Dr. Michalopoulou presented the promotion activities that Enterprise Greece launched and implemented for the program since its commencement. She referred to the presence of Enterprise Greece in targeted international investment immigration fairs, the organization of customized investment seminars aiming to highlight the program’s benefits and provisions, and finally to the publication of promotional material in five different languages.
In conclusion, based on the latest available statistics from the Greek Ministry of Migration Policy (April 30, 2017), the Greek Golden Visa program is showing an increasing trend with 1,684 residence permits issued for property owners and 4.095 for family members. In terms of approval for the GR Golden visa, China ranks first with 701 licenses for property owners and 1,693 for family members, followed by Russia with 357 and 751 respectively, while Egypt ranks third with 84 owners and 191 family members. The presence of Turkey is notable, as there has been an increase of 50% from the end of February to the end of April.