The Greek government has introduced significant changes to its golden visa program.
The changes have been introduced to strengthen credibility and to make it tougher for applicants to misuse the program for money laundering activities.
Greece’s golden visa offers a fast-track route to permanent residence to investors buying real estate worth €250,000 in the country.
Under the new changes, the definition of the minimum investment requirement to qualify for the golden visa program has been expanded.
The rule now states that the minimum value of the property at the time of its acquisition combined with the contractual rent of any hotel or tourist accommodation must not be less than €250,000.
Further, this amount must be paid in full at the time of acquisition of the property for it to be considered as an eligible transaction for the purpose of the golden visa program.
The minimum real estate investment amount can be adjusted only by a joint decision of the ministers of Migration Policy and Economy and Finance.
The second major change is related to the mode of transfer of the investment amount to the payee. As per the new rules:
- The entire consideration for purchase of real estate must be paid by a two-line bank check.
- The check must be on the beneficiary’s account that must be held with a bank operating in Greece.
- Or, the investor can transfer the amount to the payee’s account through a payment service provider operating in Greece.
This change has been introduced to ensure the transaction is routed through the Bank of Greece, which will establish a clear audit trail for authorities for future verification.
Further, requiring payments to be transferred through authorized Greek financial institutions or payment service providers is aimed at improving security, enhancing transparency, and reducing the possibility of the program being used to launder money.
The two-line bank check requirement is intended to prevent foreign individuals or entities financing the golden visa transaction from abroad. The new rule introduces a limitation on who can act as the payers or beneficiaries of the real estate purchase.
Even in the event of a third party making the payment on behalf of the golden visa applicant, the money will have to be transferred through the two-line check issued on the account of the third party.
This requirement introduces an additional level of protection into the transaction.
Greece was a late entrant into the group of EU countries offering permanent residence against real estate investment.
However, its program is popular among Chinese investors due to the low investment requirement combined with a resurgence in the country’s tourism and real estate sector.
Changes aimed at making the program safer and more transparent are partly in response to a recent European Commission report that has termed such investment immigration programs security risks and has called for their immediate termination.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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