Media report: Affluent Chinese happily snapping up Greek Golden Visas

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Media report: Affluent Chinese happily snapping up Greek Golden VisasRich foreigners buy residency permits that come with European Union passports

ATHENS- Home for Chinese investor Jiang Rungong and his family is now Greece, has been for three years and looks like they might be there to stay, courtesy of the so-called Golden Visa program that lets rich foreigners buy residency permits that come with European Union passports while many Greeks in the Diaspora have to wait two years or more to get theirs – if they ever do.

“We chose Greece because of its cultural heritage, its history, the democracy, freedom. We really like its atmosphere,” Jiang told Agence France-Presse in a feature on the program that has been lauded by the government but blistered by critics who said it tilts toward the wealthy and people with no connection to the country, who bought their way in.

None that bothers him or his family. “Since we got the visa, we’ve traveled to many European countries. And every time we come back to Greece – the moment we set foot in the airport, we feel like it’s home,” he said.

It used to be Shanghai before the 52-year-old and his wife and son jumped at the chance to live in Greece with just about all the benefits of real citizenship – which the new New Democracy said it wants to offer outright to the rich from other countries.

His 18-year-old son, Jiang Semniao, managed to learn Greek in just two years, is attending a Greek public school, and dreams of becoming a Greek citizen not just a permanent resident, a kind of Green Card for people who aren’t citizens but want to live in the country.

Under the arrangement, non-EU citizens are given the permit in return for investing at least 250,000 euros ($275,520) in Greek real estate but reports have emerged that some of China’s wealthy are scooping up properties on the cheap with prices depressed by a 9 ½-year-long austerity crisis and turning them into short-term rentals under platforms such as Airbnb, getting even richer off their investment, driving up rents and driving out residents from neighborhoods.

Greece is not the only European country to operate such a scheme.

It’s not just the Chinese, but Russians and others with money to flaunt are buying in: the number of residence permits issued to non-EU citizens is up by 46 percent in 2018, the report on the program said, with about 5,300 issued since it began in 2013, some 3400 to Chinese buyers.

Chinese businesses are looking at investing in the country too, after Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis went to the Shanghai international expo hunting them and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Athens, where the two signed 16 deals.

Analysts said the Chinese no longer regard Greece merely as a foot in the door to the EU’s free-travel Schengen zone, but actually enjoy life in their new home, a country offering sunshine, seas, islands, world-class food – very different from Chinese who find some of it exotic – and charming.

“They like to stay in Athens and the suburbs, forming little Chinatowns. They are buying blocks of flats, where all the owners are Chinese,” Anny Avgouli, Migration Policy Manager for a law firm, Dedes, told AFP, the business having a special department for Golden Visas for Chinese buyers.

It’s not overnight though. “When you tell a client that a year might be needed just to submit the request…it is like you are showing him the exit,” said Dedes Law Investment Manager Dorina Cobzaru about the protocol.

Applications are also being held up because they are processed in the same department that handles the asylum requests of tens of thousands of migrants, who live in tents and hardship, so New Democracy wants to help them – the Chinese and Golden Visa applicants.

And already, a huge backlog has built up.

The government approved a bill October that would allow would-be investors to get around China’s strict capital controls so they can use multiple bank terminal transactions to transfer the needed sum equaling $250,000.

Greek Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, who recently visited China, said the Bank of Greece had concluded that “the use of bank terminals does not violate Greek or European law. If it is violating Chinese law, this is a matter for China.”

While the European Commission warned that Golden Visa programs in some countries, specifically Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Malta, could be open to money laundering and criminal activity – Cyprus just yanked 26 – Greece is forging ahead, desperate for cash and investors to try to spur a slow recovery from a crisis that began almost a decade ago.

The Bank of Greece, said AFP, found that the program brought in 469 million euros ($516.88 million) in the Chinese capital in 2018 and 443 million euros ($488.22 million) more just in the first half of 2019, with the government holding the door open wide.

Chinese investors have put more than one billion euros ($1.1 billion) in total into Greek property since the program was launched, the data showed.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

Tornos
  1. 08/12 14:35

    Four Greek scientists participate in NASA’s ”Touch the Sun” mission

  2. 08/12 14:30

    Archangel Michael Church Greek Language Institute’s new curriculum in New York

  3. 08/12 14:27

    Greek government's new benefits policy includes easing fostering and adoption

  4. 08/12 14:21

    Pancyprian WIN’s Christmas Party in Glen Cove of New York on December 11

  5. 08/12 14:14

    Social dividend of 700 euros credited to beneficiaries in Greece by end of December

  6. 08/12 14:09

    Minister: Expat Greeks a great asset for unity when nation is challenged

  7. 08/12 14:04

    Primary residence protection on outstanding loans extended in Greece to April 2020

  8. 08/12 13:45

    President of Libyan House of Representatives to visit Greece

  9. 08/12 11:54

    Christian and Muslim leaders’ declaration against domestic violence in Greece

  10. 07/12 20:36

    'Stranded' rosy pelicans flown by plane from Cyprus to Lake Kerkini in Greece

  11. 07/12 18:16

    Greek FM: Libya's Ambassador given 72-hour deadline to leave the country

  12. 07/12 02:21

    Signing of the «golden» contract for Athens Metro Line 4 imminent

  13. 07/12 02:15

    Greek metallurgy firm becomes Aluminium Stewardship Initiative member

  14. 07/12 02:08

    EU VP Schinas and Commissioner Johansson conclude migration talks in Turkey

  15. 06/12 23:25

    Sharp increase in issuing of Golden Visas by Greece

  16. 06/12 23:05

    New delay in Athens Hellenikon casino project license award

  17. 06/12 21:18

    UN migration head appeals to EU to ease refugee pressure in Greece

  18. 06/12 18:54

    Canada’s PM Trudeau meets Greek counterpart Mitsotakis at NATO Summit

  19. 06/12 17:45

    Greece gains double benefit from latest Eurogroup meeting

  20. 06/12 15:39

    Athens opens door for Chinese investments in Greek telecommunications

  21. 06/12 14:05

    High Court rules Greek State must cover emergency private health care

  22. 06/12 13:33

    Greek Finance Minister announces €700 social dividend for 250,000 households

  23. 06/12 12:49

    Mystery Santa Claus brings joy to orphaned children in Volos, Greece

  24. 06/12 11:47

    Pontian Genocide conference held in Athens over the weekend

  25. 06/12 01:45

    Athens more sparkling and magical than ever this Christmas - full program of events

  26. 06/12 01:25

    Pantanassa Monastery in path of fires in New South Wales of Australia

  27. 06/12 01:21

    First snow of the season falls in Trikala and Thessaloniki in Greece (video)

  28. 06/12 01:20

    SNFCC sessions presents Greek-British artist Alex Kapranos in Athens

  29. 06/12 01:17

    Israel rebukes latest instance of 'Turkography' in the east Mediterranean

  30. 06/12 01:01

    CNN: Colorful Greek street on Mykonos island among most beautiful in the world

  31. 05/12 23:32

    New single framework for insolvent borrowers to be launched in Greece

  32. 05/12 23:21

    Greek President urges for dialogue among cultures at Academy of Athens event

  33. 05/12 23:11

    Athens approves Vatican’s ‘humanitarian corridor’ for asylum seekers

  34. 05/12 23:04

    Prime Minister: Greece relies on EU solidarity to address refugee crisis

  35. 05/12 22:47

    4.52 billion in tax arrears covered by 120-month installment plan in Greece

  36. 05/12 22:25

    The Travel lists 20 tips by Santorini locals for tourists in iconic Greek island

  37. 05/12 18:44

    Moon rocks from Apollo 11 on display at Athens National Observatory

  38. 05/12 16:35

    Greek Diaspora Minister Diamataris's statement following his resignation

  39. 05/12 16:09

    Envipco Automated Recycling Plant inaugurated by PM in Greece

  40. 05/12 14:54

    INSETE: Greek listings on Airbnb and HomeAway reach €1.15 billion in revenues

  41. 05/12 14:37

    Greece offers impressive tax breaks to attract affluent foreigners

  42. 05/12 14:21

    Temperatures drop below zero in ski resorts of Greece

  43. 05/12 14:06

    ELSTAT: Greek economy grew 2.3% during third quarter of 2019

  44. 05/12 10:55

    Athens International Science Film Festival returns for 13th consecutive year

  45. 05/12 10:32

    Religious Tourism: Visit Monastery of Agia Varvara Roussanou in Meteora

  46. 04/12 23:16

    New platform support vessel acquired by Hellenic Navy at historic Salamina site

  47. 04/12 22:43

    UK PM Boris Johnson unveils he reads Greek poetry to relax (video)

  48. 04/12 22:16

    Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki in search of its very own Santa Claus

  49. 04/12 22:10

    Tourism's carbon emissions measured in UNWTO report at COP25 (video)

  50. 04/12 22:06

    Fly safely and drink responsibly campaign launched in Norway

  51. 04/12 21:07

    Piraeus manager Cosco takes share in Bilk container terminal in Hungary

  52. 04/12 20:52

    Telecom provider Wind Hellas to get first offers during this month

  53. 04/12 20:39

    First relief for Greece's tax-battered middle class after 10 years of crisis

  54. 04/12 20:09

    US Ambassador hails reopening of Neorion Shipyard on Greek island of Syros

  55. 04/12 19:57

    Greek PM backs North Macedonia and Albania European Union hopes

  56. 04/12 19:40

    New flights to Greece in Summer 2020

  57. 04/12 19:24

    Greek Tourism Minister announces targeted action plan for U.S. market

  58. 04/12 19:17

    Religious Tourism: Catholic Archbishop of Malta visits Ecumenical Patriarchate

  59. 04/12 18:58

    US Ambassador in Athens warns that China may use cash-hungry Greece

  60. 04/12 18:30

    Minister: University reform to include performance-linked funding in Greece

  61. 04/12 18:00

    EU "in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus" on Turkey-Libya MoU

  62. 04/12 17:35

    26W T-bill auction by Greece nets €812.5 million with negative yield of 0.02%

  63. 04/12 16:15

    Air Cargo peak season off to slow beginning during October 2019

  64. 04/12 14:24

    Average full-time private sector monthly salary in Greece reaches €1,166.76 in May

  65. 04/12 12:47

    Enjoy the traditional Greek loukoumades

  66. 04/12 10:10

    Greek PM to address meeting on the sidelines of NATO's anniversary

  67. 04/12 01:37

    Minister: Bilateral relations between Greece and Israel at an exceptional level

  68. 04/12 01:27

    Greek PM discusses tourism investments with top fund managers in London

  69. 04/12 01:16

    Greek PM to meet with Turkish President on the sidelines of the NATO Summit

  70. 04/12 00:52

    City Break report: Visiting popular Greektown spots in Detroit

  71. 04/12 00:07

    Greek health monitoring startup attracts attention of Johnson & Johnson

  72. 03/12 23:51

    Prime Minister: Greece fully supports EU targets to fight climate change

  73. 03/12 22:44

    Greek Foreign Minister meets with EU Representative for Foreign Affairs

  74. 03/12 22:35

    Bank of Greece chief working towards other systemic solutions for NPLs

  75. 03/12 22:20

    Technical solution for Thessaloniki Metro Venizelou Station greenlighted

  76. 03/12 21:05

    State Department: Turkey-Libya zones deal 'unhelpful and provocative'

  77. 03/12 20:52

    Piraeus Bank staff on strike actions on Wednesday and Thursday over layoffs

  78. 03/12 16:36

    European Union seeks clarifications from Cyprus over citizenship scheme

  79. 03/12 16:10

    Greek Labour Minister unveils plans for transition to digital age

  80. 03/12 14:34

    Survey: Samaria Gorge attracts tourists to Greek island of Crete

  81. 03/12 14:04

    Cold front from the Balkans to affect Greece from Tuesday to Thursday

  82. 03/12 12:52

    European Union Refugee Commissioner promises that Greece will get help

  83. 03/12 10:56

    Greek artist Dimitris Papaioannou debuts at Brooklyn Academy of Music

  84. 03/12 03:52

    Boost for efforts to curb unruly passengers as MP14 comes into force

  85. 03/12 03:36

    Farmers to block highways across central Greece on December 4

  86. 03/12 02:58

    State offers incentives for green energy projects in Greece

  87. 03/12 02:21

    Names unveiled of 26 affluent foreigners stripped of Cypriot passports

  88. 03/12 02:17

    Greek Foreign Ministry tables migration returns proposal in Brussels

  89. 03/12 01:55

    Public and MediaMarkt form biggest omnichannel retailer in Greece and Cyprus

  90. 02/12 22:14

    800 Ancient Roman amphorae confirm 6th AD shipwreck off Akrotiri-Dreamers Bay in Cyprus

  91. 02/12 22:03

    Greek Prime Minister to meet US President on January 7 in Washington DC

  92. 02/12 20:57

    Cypriot farmers angry over new halloumi cheese guidelines

  93. 02/12 20:19

    Christmas lights at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens

  94. 02/12 18:46

    Eurogroup expected to greenlight €767 million tranche to Greece on Wednesday

  95. 02/12 18:00

    Christmas in Athens commences with tree lighting at the Grande Bretagne

  96. 02/12 16:53

    Traveler Awards 2019 Russia: Greece voted best beach holiday destination for 2019

  97. 02/12 16:41

    UNWTO welcomes fellow United Nations agencies to Madrid for start of COP25

  98. 02/12 14:59

    Survey: Which? unveils best and worst travel price comparison platforms

  99. 02/12 14:30

    Greek government announces own 'social dividend' for 200K households

  100. 02/12 12:40

    Greek Prime Minister attends UN Climate Change Summit in Madrid