The amendments entered into force on 14 September 2020, when the amendment law No 120/2020 was published by the Gazetta Ufficiale. The novelties are set out in Article 40 of Annex 1.
Now you can invest from your business account
Amendments to the law allow the applicant to pay the investment condition from the account of the company in which it holds. Previously, funds for participation in the Italian residence permit programme were only allowed to be paid from personal bank accounts.
To participate in the Italian residence permit programme, investors invest in local companies, buy government bonds or contribute to charity funds. The minimum threshold for business investments was lowered in May 2020 - now it is 250 000 € for innovative start-ups and 500 000 € for other companies.
No need to visit the country to keep a residence permit
Previously, investors had to spend at least a few days a year in Italy. If they left the country for more than 365 days, they would lose their residence permit.
Since September 2020, Parliament has abolished this requirement. Investors no longer have to come to the country for a few days every year.
Parliament has also simplified the procedure for processing documents - there is one less paper on the list. Investors no longer have to sign an integration agreement - Accordo di integrationzione. Previously it was signed by everyone who applied for an Italian residence permit for a period of 1 year or more.
Residence permit and EU citizenship for investments in business
There are other programmes in the European Union that offer residence permit or citizenship for investments in business. For example, a residence permit for Portugal can be obtained if you buy shares in local companies worth from 1 million euros or open a company in the country and create 10 jobs. Cyprus offers citizenship for investments in shares of Cypriot companies from €2 million or more.
In our experience, business investment options are less popular with investors than buying property. Real estate investment is the most popular option in Portugal and Cyprus programs.
Other countries are also mitigating programme conditions
Many countries have eased the conditions for citizenship and residence permit programmes as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Portugal has simplified the conditions for obtaining citizenship for resident children and increased the first validity period of a residence permit card from 1 to 2 years. We have already told more about changes in the residence permit program of Portugal in the news "Citizenship of Portugal for children and grandchildren of investors"
Caribbean countries have also eased programme conditions:
- Antigua and Barbuda has abolished the requirement to come to the country and launched a new investment option.
- Dominica for families of 4 people reduced the amount of investment in the state fund by $25,000 and allowed siblings of investors to participate in the program.
- St Kitts and Nevis has created an option with a reduced amount of investment, which is valid until the end of 2020 for families of up to 4 people. The amount of subsidies to the state fund has been reduced by $45,000.
- Saint Lucia has halved the amount of investment in government bond purchase options until 31 December 2020 and eased the participation conditions for the members of the investor's family
Amendments to the Italian residence permit programme have been introduced to simplify the procedure for obtaining a residence permit for an investor. The Italian Parliament has amended the programme to attract more participants. Capital inflow will help the Italian economy recover from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.