Greece visa pledge attracting investors

A government initiative aimed at encouraging foreign investment by offering short-term residence permits to entrepreneurs from China, Russia and Arab states has reportedly fuelled strong interest, particularly from the Chinese market following high-level talks in Beijing and Shanghai by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras earlier this month.

Less than two weeks after Samaras told a business conference in Shanghai that Chinese entrepreneurs investing more than 250,000 euros in real estate in Greece would get a five-year residence permit, the first major deal has been struck between a Greek real estate firm and a Chinese brokerage, Kathimerini understands.

Foreign investors, particularly the Chinese, are said to be keen to acquire residence permits in Greece as this would secure them easy access to the other 24 countries in the passport-free Schengen area.

Russian investors are said to be eyeing real estate opportunities – particularly in summer homes – in Halkidiki, the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands.

The European Commission states that it is the prerogative of individual nations to decide whether to extend residence permits to non-EU citizens. Nevertheless there have been reports of objections to the Greek government’s initiative due to security concerns.