Research by Astons, the international experts on real estate, residency and citizenship through investment, has revealed that while Spain’s Golden Visa had proved one of the most popular amongst international high-net-worth investors, it’s Cyprus, Greece and Malta that stand to benefit should the Spanish government follow the likes of Ireland and Portugal in scrapping the program.
With pressure increasing from EU officials to have member countries scrap Golden Visa programs, Spain has become the latest country to consider doing so, or to at least increase the minimum investment requirement.
In recent months both Ireland and Portugal have taken the decision to end Golden Visa investment, with Spain now likely to do the same, or to increase the minimum investment from £500,000 to £1m.
Figures from Astons show that Spain’s Golden Visa program has been a popular one amongst global investors, with applicant numbers increasing by 16.7% annually. In fact, it ranked third within the top 10 most popular, with 2,507 annual applicants accounting for 13.6% of all investment into the top 10 programs (2021 – latest available).
Just the Panama Investors Visa and the Australian BIIP proved more popular in this respect and further research from Astons found that, between March and April of this year, search interest for Spain’s Golden Visa increased by +67.7%, proving more popular than Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
In contrast, with Portugal having closed its doors, there was a -21.9% monthly reduction in search trends for the nation’s Golden Visa program.
With Spain now expected to follow suit with Portugal, Astons expects that Greece, Malta and Cyprus will see a surge in interest as the world’s high-net-worth investors look to other nations with similar offerings as Spain.
While Greece also made the decision to double its minimum invest threshold, it remains one of the more affordable options at $500,000, while Malta and Cyprus are also far more affordable at $300,000.
The one downside to the Cypriot Golden Visa is that, at present, the Republic of Cyprus is not a member of the Schengen area and so a Cypriot residence permit does not allow for visa-free travel around Europe. However, Cyprus is taking serious steps to remedy this and in doing so, could become more attractive to future investors.
In the last month, searches for Greek Golden Visas have climbed by +34.1%, with Malta and Cyprus also seeing an increase of +28.9% and +3.7% respectively.
Immigration Expert for Astons USA, Alena Lesina said, “Spain’s decision to potentially close its doors to Golden Visa applicants is likely to spur a final wave of demand from those keen to invest before it’s too late, but, beyond this point, we expect Greece, Malta and Cyprus to become the frontrunners where Golden Visa demand is concerned.
Greece has already seen a surge in popularity amongst American investors, in particular, and this demand only heightened following Portugal’s decision to close its Golden Visa program.
However, all three options present a similar offering in terms of geography, lifestyle and climate, with the minimum investment requirement also remaining some of the most affordable of all Golden Visa offerings.”