To date, investors who have bought properties in Greece worth more than 250,000 Euros have been granted five-year residency permits in the country. Under the new scheme, permits will be renewed and after seven years, investors will be able to enjoy the benefits of Greek citizenship.
The initiative is part of the government's drive to encourage foreign investment in its property market, with incentives of particular interest to investors outside the EU such as Russia and China.
Russian, Chinese and Middle East investors have been pouring money into Europe's property markets motivated by restrictions or sanctions in their domestic markets and growth prospects overseas. Greece has followed other countries such as Spain and Portugal in providing non-EU buyers with opportunities for permanent residency outside their native countries.
The amended program, set to be introduced later this year, will also be extended to provide residency for parents of investors. Until now, non-EU property investors in Greece have only been able to obtain residency for spouses and children under 21.
Another slight change to the policy is that residency visas can be transferred to a new owner if they are also non-EU investors and buy the property within the five-year residency period, something that is not allowed under existing legislation.