The proposal to launch its own investment programme was voiced by Ivan Shimich, head of the Slovenian Government’s Strategic Council for the debureaucratization. He noted that the investment programme for citizenship or residence permits will help to raise funds for the economy of the country, which has been affected by the pandemic and the financial crisis.
Ivan Shimich emphasised that the launch of the investment programme is only possible if investors are strictly checked for trustworthiness.
With a Slovenian passport, the investor gains freedom to travel the world and all the rights of an EU citizen:
- The opportunity to live and work in any EU country without time constraints.
- Visa – free entry to 180 countries including all Schengen countries, the UK, Singapore and Japan.
- Access to a simplified electronic visa system for travel to the USA, Canada and New Zealand.
- Access to services of EU banks.
With a residence permit for Slovenia, the investor will be able to reside in the country and travel within the EU without visas.
Investment programmes for citizenship and residence permits of other EU countries now offer similar opportunities. Against the backdrop of the crisis, many of these countries have revised the terms of the programmes to make them more attractive to investors.
Changes in the investment programmes of the EU Member States against the background on the crises
Greece was one of the first countries to amend its residence permit programme for investment.
In May 2020, the government simplified the procedure for obtaining the so-called golden visa for real estate investments. In particular, the mandatory personal visit to the country was abolished. Investors were also allowed to transfer funds to pay for investments from abroad.
Italy has reduced the minimum investment in business by two times. The changes affected the most popular options of the residence permit programme for investments – investments in start-ups and companies.
In September the Italian government accepted new amendments to the residence permit programme for investment. Now an investor can transfer payments under the programme from his company’s account. The government has also abolished the mandatory residence requirement.
Portugal has simplified the conditions for obtaining citizenship for the children and grandchildren of the investor. The new rules for renewing a residence permit card apply to investors who have applied for the programme after 1 April 2020. Now it is needed to extend the status for the first time in 2 years instead of 1 year as before.
What other countries are thinking about launching citizenship by investment programs amid the crisis
The 8 countries in Oceania are also considering establishing citizenship programmes for investment. The proposal is being discussed by the governments of Tuvalu, Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, Tonga, Karibati, Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands.
The minimum investment in these countries’ programmes is expected to be around $100,000. Nationals of Oceania countries may enter the Schengen area and the UK without visas. Tonga’s passport entitles them to enter China without a visa.
New citizenship programmes may appear already in 2021-2022. This will increase competition in the region, which has had a successful Vanuatu citizenship programme since 2017.