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Europe offers a high quality of living that is difficult to compare. With the European Union and the Schengen Agreement, residents in any European country can travel freely within the region and enjoy diversity with great convenience. When considering investment immigration, the United Kingdom and Ireland are traditionally the most popular choices for many in Hong Kong and Asia, but the costs are high; a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa requires a minimum investment of £2 million (approx. HKD 20 million) while the Irish Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) requires a minimum investment of £1 million (approx. HKD 10million).
As cost-friendly alternatives, several Golden Visa schemes exist in Europe, that offer residency in a European country with lower investment requirements. The following article will give you an overview of the top 3 investment immigration programs in Europe.
The Portugal Golden Visa scheme has been one of the most popular investment-based immigration schemes in Europe. An investment of €500,000 in real estate in Portugal will result in a temporary residence permit for the applicant, as well as for his/her spouse and children, for one year. This is renewable for two-year periods and after 5 years, the golden visa holder can apply for a permanent residence permit in Portugal.
Due to the popularity in the program, the real estate market in Portugal has seen a surge in prices; in some areas, prices have doubled since the investment immigration program was established. In the capital, Lisbon, a new 2-bedroom apartment can cost somewhere between 400,000 to 2 million euros.
Cyprus is a beautiful island country located in the Mediterranean. Apart from its renowned warm and sunny weather and friendly people, Cyprus has become a top choice for those considering immigration to Europe through investment. The Cyprus Golden Visa program offers a quick and efficient way for applicants to obtain citizenship in an EU state.
Once the applicant is granted citizenship in Cyprus, his/her immediate family, including spouse, parents and any children under the age of 27, can also apply for citizenship and passport from Cyprus. Because of Cyprus’ membership in the European Union, any passport holders from Cyprus enjoy the right to live, work and study freely in all of the other 26 EU states.
To apply for the Golden Visa, applicants are required to invest a minimum of 2 million Euro in real estate in the country and to hold the relevant investments for at least 3 years. If the property is sold after 3 years, the applicant is required to maintain a minimum worth of 500,000 Euro in real estate in Cyprus to be able to retain the citizenship and passport.
Cyprus’ relaxed lifestyle and a broad international community are one of its additional attractive features, and English is widely spoken in the country. If you are looking for an idyllic home for your children, or a warm, tropical second-home after retirement, the Cyprus Golden Visa can be a good choice.
For those looking for a low-cost investment immigration program in Europe, Greece is your top immigration destination. With only a minimum investment requirement of €250,000 in real estate, the Greece Golden Visa has the lowest requirement for any investment immigration programs in the EU. There are no specific language requirements, work experience or residency. Once the application is successful, applicants could be granted a five-year residency visa in Greece with their spouse and children up to the age of 21.
As Greece is gradually recovering from a recession, there is high investment potential in the country, especially in the real estate market. In recent years, it has started gaining popularity among foreign investors. While some see Greece as a fantastic retirement and holiday location, many see Greek cities, especially Athens, worthy of investment and properties can offer a good potential rental yield.
Due to the recent recession, property prices in Greece are often considered to be undervalued. Comparing with other European capitals, Athens offers a competitive property pricing per square meter and higher property quality. Once you have acquired a property, you can rent it out from day one. And as many people are moving to big cities for work and Greece being an attractive tourist destination, renting out properties is relatively easy.
Research in 2018 shows that apartments of around 120 square meters in the city center of Athens can yield around, grossly, 4.2% rental yield. Smaller apartments can yield proportionately more. Outside of the city center, in the suburb of Athens, the gross rental yield can reach around 4.5%.
Here’s a table of different kinds of property in and around Athens and their cost and monthly rent:
If you are looking for newly built, modern and high-end residential projects to invest in, in Athens, the Triloupi Residence and Metaxourgeio are the latest architectural delight in the Greek capital. More details here.
According to research, the Greek holiday home market is the most attractive in the Mediterranean; high-end holiday properties offer the highest rental yields compared to its competitors in the area. Mykonos, Santorini and Paros offered the highest rental returns in 2018.
If you are planning for immigration to Greece through investment, Mykonos can offer a very attractive average gross yield in the high-end holiday home market. The average gross yield (AGY) of properties on the island can go up to 8.5%. To put it into perspective, the weekly rental rate for a luxurious holiday home on Mykonos can reach as high as €11,500.
Santorini and its iconic white houses with blue tops are the equivalents of a Mediterranean holiday. Due to the high demand from tourists, the AGY on Santorini is around 6.4%.
Paros is one of the islands of Cyclades and offers spectacular historical buildings, white-sand beaches and vibrant nightlife. The AGY on Paros is around 6.3%.
Advantages of Greece Golden Visa
The Greece Golden Visa is a popular option for immigration by investment for a reason; there is no language, work or minimum stay requirements like the other Golden Visa programs and the investment fee requirement is the lowest in the EU. The application process is extremely efficient and fast and the real estate market has a good and solid rental yield that can generate income right away.
Our team of professional immigration lawyer consultants at Simard & Associates are experts in immigration applications. If you are interested to know more about investment immigration options, such as Golden Visa programs in Europe, feel free to give us a call at +852 2169 0388 or fill in our online enquiry form to get in touch!