Permits and schools woo immigrant investors
Greece will enter the battle for the return of foreign investors in real estate using two significant weapons – although this battle will probably have to wait until the second half of the year, when traveling from one country to another should become easier. These weapons are the strong passport this country can offer and Greece’s high ranking (compared to countries with rival investment immigration programs) in terms of education quality.
In 2020 the program granting residence permits to property investors in Greece suffered a huge slump. The pandemic and interested parties’ inability to travel to Greece and complete the procedures for buying realty and having a residence permit issued resulted in the issuing of just 403 permits. That constitutes a record decline of 88.5% from the 3,504 permits issued in 2019, a record year for the Golden Visa program. Since the start of the program a total of 8,011 permits have been issued.
According to the annual Henley Passport Index for 2021, the Greek passport ranks eighth as it offers visa-free access to 184 countries in the world. Of course in order to obtain a passport a person needs to spend seven consecutive years of residence in Greece for at least six months per year.
Greece also ranks high on another chart that third-country investors take into account if interested in utilizing programs such as Golden Visa: the quality of education.
In a relevant analysis, Astons, that specializes in the utilization of investment immigration programs, notes that Greece offers a particularly attractive package to investors: It combines a Golden Visa program that has a low investment threshold (at just 250,000 euros, matching those of Switzerland and Turkey) with high-quality education.
Therefore Greece is only second to Switzerland in the overall package offered to potential investors, with its education index ranking ninth among the 22 countries across the world that offer investment immigration programs. This country ranks above other countries in southern Europe such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Turkey. Many Chinese nationals who have invested in Greece have moved to the country along with their children.