German Media: Why do Chinese People Choose to Immigrate to Greece?

Athens, the Capital city of Greece

“Investing 250,000 euros, you can immigrate to Europe for three generations!” This is a common advertisement  for Chinese immigration agencies to promote their Greek Golden Visa project. So, are these rhetoric true, why do Chinese people want to immigrate to Greece? The Süddeutsche Zeitung has launched an in-depth report on this issue.

Athens, the Capital city of Greece

China’s official Xinhua News Agency recently listed in an article the “sufferings” of Chinese citizens after they moved to Europe: life is lonely and monotonous, reality and dreams are greatly different. But despite this, the business of immigration agencies in China is still very prosperous. These are dedicated to providing a one-stop service for wealthy intermediaries, from immigration documents, investment projects, and even capital transfers. Official sources from China say that 5.2 million Chinese citizens have moved overseas so far. It is not known how many of them have migrated overseas with the help of the so-called “golden visa”. The article in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” titled “China’s Million Immigration Tide” writes:

“Especially those Chinese who are wealthy are willing to take advantage of this opportunity to emigrate for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A poll published by the Hurun Research Institute in Shanghai shows that 224 millionaires surveyed are close to Half of the people said they have immigrated and are seriously planning or considering immigration matters. 83% of these average $4.5 million rich people say immigrants are seeking better educational resources, and 69% say they are leaving China because of environmental pollution. Other immigration reasons include a loose visa policy and better health care.

70% of them already own property and other property abroad. The Canadian Visa Advisory Group has ten branches in China. The group’s employee, David Chen, said that for wealthy Chinese, having overseas properties and foreign passports is also a ‘economic security guarantee’. For the middle class, immigration abroad is also very attractive. After purchasing the right of abode in an educated developed country, the cost of schooling for children may be cheaper than attending school in the country. In most cases, only one parent will immigrate to accompany their children. ”

The article quoted data from the Shanghai Hurun Research Institute as saying that seven of the ten preferred countries for Chinese immigrants are European countries, including the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal. According to Xinhua News Agency, Greece won by “low cost” and half of the immigrants who obtained the country’s “golden visa” came from China.

The so-called “Golden Visa” is an immigration project launched by the Greek government in 2013 to introduce funds for this country in financial crisis. The website promoting the “Golden Visa” is full of words that praise the beautiful scenery of Greece, but for those who spend money to buy a residence, feeling the Greek “Mediterranean lifestyle” is probably only a secondary factor. Another article in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” is “Immigration is not just because of the enchanting scenery of Greece”, but another picture. The article writes:

“After at least 250,000 euros to purchase a Greek property, the purchaser will receive a five-year residence permit from Greece. After the expiration of the five-year period, the residence can be extended as long as the property is retained. Buyers do not need to live in Greece. The website of the real estate agent wrote that after obtaining a residence in Greece, you can freely enter and exit the entire Schengen country, so Greece is the most expensive ticket to enter Europe. In contrast, the price of entering the EU member states by means of investment immigration Much higher. After purchasing a property to obtain a residence in Greece, the applicant cannot work in Greece, but it is required to pay taxes every year (Editor’s Note: Tax is property tax).

At present, the largest investment group is Chinese, and the second is Turks. According to data released by the Athens Immigration Department in November 2018, a total of 9,756 such residence permits have been issued so far, of which 5,367 are from China, 1,028 are from Turkey, and 1012 are from Russia. Another 200 people are from Syria. ”

Then, can Chinese people who spend hundreds of thousands of euros and get the so-called “golden visa” join the Greek nationality one day? The article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote:

“People cannot get a Greek passport just by purchasing properties. According to the law, if you have legally lived in Greece for seven years, you might have the right to apply Greek citizenship. However, even those Albanians who grew up in Greece have difficulty applying for a Greek passport. It is not convenient for investors from China and Russia to become naturalized at the time. It is still unknown so far. After all, the implementation of the ‘Golden Visa’ regulations has not been completed for seven years.”

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