Over 132K Obtain Citizenship via European Residency & Citizenship Investment Programs

August 18, 2023
Through residency and citizenship investment programmes given in European nations including Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Spain between 2011 and 2019, more than 132,000 people earned citizenship. According to a recent study by Biz News, which highlights that the difficulty of acquiring a visa through these programs has not greatly risen, such conclusions have been reached. Besides, in 2022, 1,218 golden visas were issued by authorities in Portugal. At the same time, in the first six months of this year, the country saw 861 applications, compared to 624 submitted last year’s same period. Greece received a total of 4,365 golden visa applications last year, of them 2,432 in the last quarter of 2022 alone. In Italy, there were granted 79 golden visas last year, the majority of them to Russians, Americans, and Britons. This is about double the amount of the previous year. Authorities in Spain granted a total of 2,462 golden visas last year, thus accounting for an increase of 60 per cent from 2021 statistics. As for Ireland, the country received 1,16 applications for the golden visa program in 2022, while from January to May 25, 2023, there were recorded a total of 1,350 golden visa applications. However, the report of Biz News says that the uncertain future of this kind of visa leads to a surge in demand and interest in alternative options such as the digital nomad visa. In spite of the fact that the European Commission has often called on countries that offer such programs to put them to an end, up to this point, several European countries allow wealthy foreigners to obtain residency and citizenship rights through the Golden Visa and Golden Passport Programs. While the Residency by Investment allows internationals and their families to acquire residency in specific countries if they invest a specific amount of money and meet the needed requirements, the Citizenship by Investment Program permits them to acquire citizenship through their financial contribution to them. However, the future of such residency and citizenship might be uncertain after these programs reportedly often allowed persons involved in unlawful affairs such as money laundering and corruption to benefit from them. Such pretensions led several countries to terminate them. On the other hand, the digital nomad visa allows persons to legally stay in countries that offer such visas and work for companies or clients located outside the country. Among the countries that were obliged to terminate its Golden Visa Program was Cyprus, following the report of Al Jazeera called “The Cyprus Papers,” which brought into focus several unlawful affairs related to this program. In February this year, Ireland announced that its Investor Visa Program would no longer be available for applicants. In the same month, as a result of the housing crisis, Portugal announced that it would terminate two routes of acquiring residency through its Golden Visa Program. Ireland and Portugal’s decision led wealthy foreign investors, especially those from the United States, to turn their eyes to other European countries that are running such schemes, such as Greece and Spain. In spite of the fact that authorities in Spain also announced that their Golden Visa Program could soon be put to an end, following a bill submitted to the Congress earlier this year by the leader of a political party Mas Pais, Íñigo Errejón such a decision has yet not been taken.

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