Dutch representative Sophie in't Weld , according to Euronews , condemned the issuance of various visas and permits to foreigners in exchange for investments: “It attracts very dubious personalities, dirty money, shady business,” she said. - It's no secret how many Russian oligarchs bought citizenship or residence permits in the EU. This is what war criminals have done in the past”.
An anti-corruption group has emerged in Europe, led by former MEP Ana Gomes, which has called for publicizing the names, surnames and nationalities of people who gained access to the EU as a result of investments in the Portuguese economy.
In her opinion, "the secrecy maintained by Lisbon regarding the "fake residents" is vicious and serves to protect criminals who want to get into the Schengen area".
"Golden passports" until today in Europe were actively offered and sold by Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Greece and Portugal. Malta recently decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of such documents to Russians and Belarusians. But so far, at least 130,000 people in Europe have been able to receive them, which has brought the host states an income of 21.8 billion euros.
Russians, of course, are losing access to the easiest and fastest way to go abroad. But in any decision of the EU, experts noted, there is always a clause: "temporary restrictions".
The ban on "golden passports" and "golden visas" in exchange for investments for Russians and Belarusians began to be introduced by various states even before the decision of the European Parliament. And not only in the EU. The publication InternationalWealth.info has the following data:
Portugal . On February 27, the Center for Foreigners and Borders, which is still in charge of the local golden visa scheme, suspended consideration of applications from Russian citizens for participation in the corresponding program. Initially, it was reported that the ban would apply only to those on international sanctions lists.
Russian citizens who have already received a "golden visa" in Portugal will not be affected by the restrictions.
According to official statistics, as of early February 2022, Russians accounted for 4.2% of all investments under the program under consideration. Over the past decade, 431 main Russian applicants have received residence permits in Portugal, investing more than a quarter of a billion euros.
Greece . On February 28, the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum announced that Russian citizens were being barred from applying for investment-based residence permits and even extending previously issued golden visas until "further notice".
Speaking on one of the state TV channels, the head of the relevant ministry, Notis Mitarakis, said that since the launch of the local program for the issuance of "golden visas" in 2013, about 2.5 thousand residence permits have been issued to Russian citizens on the basis of investments (the figure covers the main investors and their families) . It is not reported, however, how many Russians managed to change their residence permit to permanent citizenship.
The naturalization process in Greece takes seven years and requires residence in the host country for most of each year. At the same time, how much money the applicant must invest in the local economy is kept secret. The authorities say they are taking a case-by-case approach.
Czech. On February 28, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced the cessation of issuing visas to the Czech Republic for Russian citizens in connection with the events in Ukraine. The restriction applies to all consular offices. An exception is humanitarian reasons for issuing a visa.
It is noted that the restrictions also cover the issuance of a Czech residence permit through the opening of a company (business immigration), since this procedure requires the prior receipt of a Czech visa. The Czechs prefer not to publicly discuss the size of investments from the contender for the "golden passport".
Malta. The authorities of the island have suspended the acceptance and processing of applications for "golden visas" and citizenship in exchange for investments from citizens of Russia and Belarus. At the same time, official documents say: "until further notice".
This measure, as emphasized, is not related to sanctions, but rather due to the inability at the moment to conduct effective background checks in the countries concerned.
Maltese Prime Minister Alex Muscat said in this regard: "We are cautious about all investments coming to Malta, but let's not make unequivocal statements that all Russians are bad people."
The politician emphasized that an audit conducted by the relevant agencies Community Malta, Identity Malta and Residency Malta showed that none of the beneficiaries of local investment immigration schemes (including approved candidates and persons whose applications are in the process of processing) were not mentioned in the sanctions list. EU.
Shortly before the events in Ukraine, Bulgarian parliamentarians voted to abandon the program for issuing permanent residence and citizenship through investment, as Sofia justifies, faced with pressure from the European Commission.
Spain, Italy, Canada, the USA and other Western countries, according to InternationalWealth.info , having original programs for issuing "golden visas", may soon also prohibit Russians and Belarusians from applying for investment residency.
Nevertheless, according to experts, many states will adopt a selective approach and begin to accept citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus who are not associated with the authorities of the states of origin.
Wealthy Russians and Belarusians connected with the government at home, on the contrary, will be denied the right to a residence permit and / permanent residence through investment, allowing, among other things, to gain access to the financial systems of host countries.
According to "NI", Montenegro is also going to refuse to buy "golden passports" for Russians and Belarusians.
It is too early for law-abiding, caring for loved ones and free-thinking Russians who are ready for investment immigration to despair. Today, almost a dozen states continue to accept applications for citizenship through investment for 3/5/7 years, depending on the country.
These jurisdictions recognize dual citizenship and offer a 100% anonymous process, which is extremely important today. Accordingly, there is no need to renounce the previous citizenship / worry about the negative consequences of entering into a new citizenship in terms of security and reputation.
Vanuatu and five other Caribbean jurisdictions - Antigua, Grenada, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Dominica - are ready to process applications even remotely.
Today, when many Russians seek to leave their homeland as quickly as possible, it makes sense to physically move to the Caribbean and apply for economic citizenship on the spot. Fortunately, Russia has a visa-free regime with all the listed states.