An Indian Odyssey

Greece's Golden Visa scheme is the fastest investment route to European residency and gateway into the EU markets

An Indian Odyssey
An Indian Odyssey
Ashish Saraff - 26 May 2021

European residency is fast-becoming popular with affluent Indian families seeking to move to the West or maintaining a second citizenship. While there are several ways to gain residency and citizenship of European countries, options for Indian nationals are limited to either investment, sponsored visa or those who have been offered a job. In contrast, citizenship via ancestry is available to several sections of the South American population, who have colonial ties with European nations such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Bearing in mind that Europe is the single largest trading block of the world, member nations of the European Union have a lot to offer — high-income markets, easy access to well-priced talent pools, high quality of life and world-class education facilities, making Europe an attractive second residency and citizenship option for wealthy Indians. Over the past decade, Chinese businesses have dominated the European markets and subscribed for 90 per cent of residence permits. This decade is likely to belong to Indian small and medium businesses to expand into European markets.

In our view, among the profusion of choices, Greece appears to be the most attractive option for Indians, from both points of view — a sound investment destination, as well as an easy immigration route. Here’s why:

Sound investment

  • After the 2008 financial crisis and years of austerity, Greece is showing strong signs of recovery and bottoming out for the past 2-3 years.
  • Real estate prices and economic indicators are pointing upwards. This could mean a sharp upside in the next 5-7 years, which is unusual in developed markets.
  • Greece is an ideal gateway to Europe for Indian businesses. The Greek government is generously offering many incentives to new businesses.
  • Being resident in Greece, Indian businesses can trade with the entire Union. Greece is also fast becoming an ideal place for digital nomads and tech start-ups with billions in research grants and funding.
  • Greece provides the highest quality of high school education for families with younger kids. Also, as Greeks like to say, they have a café culture, not a pub culture.

Immigration route

  • No minimum annual stays in Greece for families seeking a future option.
  • Lifetime residence permits for the family, including children under 21 and parents of the investor and spouse.
  • Visa-free access to Schengen Zone.
  • Live, expand your Indian business, set up a new business or buy an operating business.
  • Trade with European single market. Import from Europe into India and vice versa.
  • Quick approvals, ie., as low as within 45 days of investing. Under the Fund Option, one could get a residence certificate in under 45 days, from the time their investment leaves their bank account.

Understanding investment options for Indian nationals

The Greece Golden Visa programme is the finest opportunity for potential investors to become European residents and eventual citizens having all legal rights, to travel freely (visa-free) to all Schengen countries, to live in any EU country, to work and study, but above all, to benefit financially from their investment.

The Golden Visa for Greece is a residency by investment visa that allows residence with a path to citizenship. There are several other investment options, but the most popular routes are via real estate and investment funds. The residence visa can include family members of the investor — spouse, children under 21 years of age, and dependent parents of the investor and investor’s spouse.

The two most popular investment options for Greece Golden Visa are:

  • Real estate purchase worth at least 250,000 Euros, plus property related taxes.
  • Investment in units of a regulated investment fund worth at least 400,000 Euros, for which, no taxes apply.

Getting your Greece Residence by real estate purchase is more suitable if the family intends to live in Greece move in right away or in the near future.

However, for investors seeking a future option, the investment fund proves to be a better route because of the following reasons:

  • Save on taxes, managing and maintaining the piece of property.
  • As a non-resident, returns on investment are not subject to tax in Greece.
  • In most cases, the returns on investment will be more than enough to cover rentals of prime properties, since rental yields are lower compared to potential yields from the fund.

Greece is at the crossroads of civilisation and continents, where Asia, Europe and Africa meet. From time immemorial, it has been a place of cultural and trade exchanges, and commerce continues to flourish in this small yet substantial part of Europe. The country offers a friendly and safe environment, comparatively low cost of living, free public healthcare, and world-class education. Greece can be truly defined as a constantly evolving dynamic experience with exceptional sound business perspectives.

The author is Founder, CEO Aretha Capital Partners

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author's own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

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