European Commission opinion on ” golden visas “: will the programmes be closed in 2021?

December 7, 2020
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Residence permit for investments in the European Union: the European Commission will not request the cancellation of programmes.
Photo: Adobe Stock
The EU states will continue issuing residence permits for investments. The European Commission does not consider investment programmes to be a violation of European law.

Green Party MEP Sven Gigold called for a ban on EU states from issuing residence permits for investments. He believes that such programmes allow criminals to escape punishment and not pay taxes. So-called “golden visas” also help violators to obtain citizenship in an EU country.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leien, did not agree with the opinion of the deputies. She refused to start checking the investment programmes for gold visas for compliance with European Union legislation.

The European Commission will also not demand that such programmes be closed. But it will continue to make sure that countries thoroughly check applicants in accordance with the law.

Investor due diligence is based on the provisions of the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Directive. To pass the verification, the investor needs to confirm the legality of his income and the absence of a criminal record. Countries regularly update their verification procedures, so Due Diligence in the EU states is one of the most stringent in the world and continues to improve.

Why does an investor need to obtain a residence permit in the European Union

Foreigners are primarily seeking a residence permit from the European Union to travel to the 26 Schengen countries without visas.

A residence permit allows you to maintain freedom of movement even during unforeseen circumstances, such as a pandemic. If a European country has closed its borders for tourists, its resident still has the right to enter the territory of the state. This rule applies to all states of the European Union. An investor with a residence permit can also move to live at any time, register a business in the country or get a job.

If an investor lives in the country for more than 183 days per year, he can obtain tax resident status. Many European countries provide tax breaks for investors. In Greece, for example, wealthy people can pay tax on world income not at an interest rate but in a fixed payment format of 100,000 € per year. We talked about this in the material ‘Greece has introduced tax breaks on world income for foreign investors’.

Residents with a residence permit may eventually apply for EU citizenship. For example, participants in a residence permit investment programme in Portugal may apply for citizenship after 5 years. In this case, they are not required to live permanently in the country, as in the standard naturalisation procedure.

In which EU member states a residence permit for an investment can be obtained

The programmes of the three European Union countries are the most popular with investors – Portugal, Greece and Malta.

A residence permit in Portugal can be applied for from 250 000 €. The government provides a wide range of investment options. This can be a purchase of real estate, setting up a company or contributing to an existing business, a deposit in a Portuguese bank, investments in venture capital funds, financing research or cultural projects. The period of residence permit registration is from 2 to 6 months.

A residence permit in Greece is issued for the purchase of property from 250 000 €. You can not only buy, but also rent a hotel or apartment in a tourist complex. It is also allowed to buy land for construction. The registration period is 3 months.

The Permanent Residence Programme in Malta sets three investment conditions for participants. To become a resident, you must buy or rent a home on the island, pay a contribution of €30,000 and purchase government bonds worth €250,000. The main applicant also confirms income of 100,000 € per year or assets of 500,000 € or more. Participation in the programme will take approximately 6 months.

Immigrant Invest – licensed agent for European residence permit programmes for investments. If you want to find out which residence permit for an investment is right for you, please contact the experts of the investment programmes for advice.

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