Residence permits for foreign investors

Government examines various ideas on how to attract investment from outside the European Union By Dimitra Manifava

The government is examining various ideas to facilitate the provision of residence permits to foreign investors from third countries, in the context of its efforts to attract investment to the cash-strapped economy.

Various proposals have so far been put forward following the completion of the public consultation phase of a draft law governing strategic investments, which is in the final stretch of processing and may be signed by the competent ministers as early as next week.

One of the ideas being taken into consideration by the government concerns supplying a five-year residence permit to non-European Union citizens who have received a visa to enter the country and who own a main or a secondary residence in Greece whose value exceeds 300,000 euros. Another proposal concerns supplying a permit to foreign investors who aim to invest over 1 million euros in the real estate sector in Greece.

Development Ministry sources suggest, however, that these ideas have not matured yet and may not be included in the current bill on strategic investments.

This draft law was presented by the ministry on October 3 and its Article 10 provides for investors, whose plans are defined as strategic investments by the ministerial committee and are eligible for the fast-track process, to almost instantly obtain residence permits that are valid for up to 10 years.

Meanwhile, in the context of investment and of Greek enterprises in foreign markets, the Development Ministry is close to an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is going to be announced next week at the EBRD’s headquarters in Great Britain.

Yesterday Minister Costis Hatzidakis announced at an event jointly held by EBRD and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) in Athens, that Greece has applied for funding worth 1.5 billion euros in order to provide capital for Greek enterprises that are active in the Balkans, in Jordan and in Egypt, as well as for the promotion of Greek exports.