Hundreds of wealthy Chinese businessmen arrive in Greece every week in order to buy property, since investment programs in Europe- provided they exceed 250,000 euros- give the buyer a Golden Visa, and can lead to citizenship after a few years.
Chinese investors in Greece
To be more specific, when foreigners invest in a European country that uses so-called golden visa investment schemes, like Greece, Portugal and Spain, then they are able to get a residence visa and, in time, citizenship of the country. During the past years there has been an increasing demand for visas for European countries, with the applications for golden visas exceeding 8,000 in 2017 while the former three countries account for 84% of these.
Golden Visa in Greece
In Greece, if a foreigner invests more than 250,000 euros to buy property he can apply for the golden visa and is able to stay in the country for at least five years. The speedy procedure in Greece, which grants a visa in about 40 days and the fact that 250,000 euros required is the lowest in Europe, attracts thousands of foreign buyers who want to have a residence visa, the majority of whom are Chinese businessmen.
According to Enterprise Greece, 3,620 visas were issued up to November, 2018, and 1,945 golden visas(more than half of the total number granted (53%)), were provided to Chinese property buyers. These buyers are international property buyers and domestic property buyers looking to get a golden visa and citizenship in a European country at the lowest possible cost.
Greece therefore offers them this opportunity as it provides them with the visa in less than two months and also gives them the chance to get obtain citizenship in 7 years. It is worth mentioning that China has some of the wealthiest people on the planet, and, at the same time, a growing number of upper middle class investors seeking to invest their money in a country like Greece whose real estate market has attractive prices that have not yet recovered from the 2008 crisis, unlike most real estate markets in Europe that have bounced back.
Will the Chinese stop investing in Greece?
Real estate experts mention that soon the Chinese will be forced to limit their overseas investments, as the state is starting to enforce stricter measures regarding capital exports and at the same time, Chinese banks are starting to limit their lending for international investments.