Greek bureaucracy’s inability to deal with the huge volume of non-European Union citizens who have obtained the right to a residence permit through the Golden Visa program has led to group action seeking a solution or financial compensation.
Fulfilling the prophecy of all those who warned that the state would not be able to promptly serve all the investors who spend at least 250,000 euros on Greek properties, 35 Chinese nationals who tabled Golden Visa applications as long as two years ago have just launched the legal process to claim compensation from the Greek state.
Based on the legal provision concerning the issue of visas within two months of their application submission, the 35 claimants last year sent an out-of-court document of protest to the state’s Decentralized Authority of Attica, which is the agency responsible for processing such applications in the country’s capital.
In their letter, they demanded the immediate granting of the residence permits they say they are entitled to, as well as the identification of the people responsible for the delays, warning that otherwise they will resort to the competent courts and claim compensation. According to a representative of the claimants, no progress has been recorded to date, even though the protest document was sent before Christmas. Therefore the 35 Chinese nationals are now preparing to take legal action.
Migration Policy Minister Notis Mitarakis issued a circular to the competent authorities on February 6 requesting an acceleration in the processing of applications and raising the issue of the country’s credibility if the two-month deadline is missed.
However, market sources say that the competent agencies keep trying to extend the deadline by demanding more and more documents from aspiring recipients of the permits, as has allegedly been the case with the 35 Chinese citizens, thereby resetting the two-month clock multiple times. In a bid to put an end to this problem, the ministry’s circular spells out which documents are required from non-EU nationals.