Hungary’s opposition party, Egyutt, has called for a parliamentary debate on the issue of Hungary’s residency bonds after criticizing the scheme for increasing the country’s burden of debt.
Egyutt member Zsuzsanna Szelényi said that not only do the residency bonds increase Hungary’s foreign exchange debt, they are also unlawful as they are available from offshore companies, which goes against the Hungarian constitution. Furthermore, the identity of individuals acquiring residency under the scheme is not known.
Another Hungarian opposition party, Jobbik, also joined in the criticism of the scheme. Jobbik deputy leader Dániel Kárpát said that the fact that undeclared persons with unknown interests were allowed to live in the country as a false technique of boosting government revenues was not acceptable. In addition, he argues, a large portion of the profit generated was being diverted to companies with possible offshore interests.
According to the Government Debt Management Agency (AKK), Hungary sold over 2,200 residency bonds till the end of 2014, raising 445.75 million euros, with the majority of buyers being from China. Foreign nationals who invest 300,000 euros in residency bonds are eligible for an accelerated application procedure for permanent residency in Hungary.
The ruling party, Fidesz, rejected the opposition’s criticism as “totally irresponsible”. Fidesz parliamentary leader Antal Rogán said the buyers of residency bonds are subject to the same citizenship requirements as any other applicants. Upon purchasing Hungarian government bonds worth 300,000 euros they are issued a residence permit which can be extended to five years, but citizenship is only granted when the person has lived in Hungary for eight years, he said.
The scheme has the sole aim of bringing in investment and any changes to Hungary’s immigration policy would be separate from the residency bonds scheme, he added.