Shock-Figures Show Greek Golden Visa Hardest Hit by COVID-19

While virtually all residence and citizenship by investment programs are slated to hit the Coronavirus-wall in the first and second quarters of 2020, Q1 figures show Greece – where China has been the source of four-fifths of applicants over the last year – have been disproportionately slammed.

So far in 2020, only 227 main applicants received approvals, a number 62% below last year’s figures in annualized terms and a blow twice as crushing as the one the pandemic dealt Portugal in the month of March.

While, as public life in China has returned to something close to normalcy over the last few weeks, some had expected that Greek suffering might be alleviated in the second quarter, such hopes were dashed on March 11th as the country’s Immigration Bureau closed their offices to the public and have yet to determine when they might reopen.

The outright suspension of processing in Greece contrasts starkly with the measures taken in smaller RCBI-jurisdictions, notably in the Caribbean, where processing continues largely uninterrupted as the region’s citizenship by investment units move processing online.

Presuming investment amounts remained around the historical EUR 300,000 average, Greece will have raised some EUR 68 million through its program so far in 2020. In aggregate since 2014, the Greece has approved 7,414 main applicants and 14,689 dependents under the golden visa program.

While at least 80% of applicants in the last year have been Chinese, their cumulative share of applicants since the program’s beginning amount to 72%. That’s an order of magnitude more than the second biggest source-market, Turkey, which contributed 7% of applicants.

Should Greece leave its EUR 250,000 minimum investment requirement unchanged following the pandemic, however, chances are good they could get many more square meters of golden visa real estate than the same investment might have bought them in 2019.


Published: 8 April 2020

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