In autumn, the European Commission publishes new rules for granting citizenship of the countries members of the EU for immigrants from third countries. This was stated by the European Commissioner for justice, consumer protection and gender equality Vera Jourova, reports the German newspaper Spiegel.
“In recent years, an increasing number of EU countries give their citizenship to third country nationals if they have previously invested in country’s economy. Often we are talking about the simple purchase of expensive real estate,” said the Commissioner.
In her opinion, this practice is a gateway for criminals and those who are laundering money.
“Some member States must do more to ensure that citizenship not to give criminals who threaten the security of Europe,” she added.
The Commission mentions, for example, Cyprus, Malta and Greece, which issue many long-term residence permits or citizenship to immigrants from China and the former Soviet republics.
According to her, in the autumn the European Commission will publish new rules for the issuance of the “Golden passports” (full citizenship) and of the “Golden visa” (long term permission to stay).
The issuing of “Golden visas” implies that the applicant invests in the economy of funds, and in return received long term permission to stay, and after 5-6 years of citizenship.
For example, in Cyprus the program of issuing “Golden visas” has existed since 2013, the applicant needs to invest 2 million euros in local real estate, or 2.5 million euros in government bonds or Cypriot company. According to The Guardian, during this time, the state received more than 4 billion euros investment. Also, according to the publication, only in 2016 Cyprus has issued more than 400 passports under the scheme, and for the life of the program – more than 2 thousand passports. In 2018, the Cypriot authorities introduced a limit on the number provided by investment passports to 700 per year, and each applicant will have to undergo special security screening, which will take up to six months. Such changes should minimize abuse of the “Golden visa” applicants.