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Russian’s war puts Golden Visa under the European Parliament Escrutiny

Russian’s war puts Golden Visa under the European Parliament Escrutiny. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Parliament has raised serious concerns on residency and citizenship through investment programs  (the so-called “Golden Visa”), allowing the granting of residence where the only criteria is blatantly: “money”.

The Golden Visa programs in the EU are regulated independently by each country, and the Parliament is calling now for an unified regime to avoid, in the first place, unfair competition and conflicts among the different countries. 

The countries with Golden Visa programs are Spain, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Cyprus.

On the other hand the Parliament wants to ensure that the qualified investments revert in the circular economy, avoiding pure mercantilization of residence and real estate speculation.

Finally, the Parliament believes that harmonisation of the rules will strengthen the fight against organised crime, money laundering, corruption and tax evasion within the EU. The idea is to make sure that the investments are legitimate, calling for rigorous background checks on applicants through the European data collection system.

Although the recommendations to make a fairer regime throughout the whole EU has been debated for  years, it has been the invasion of Ukraine which triggered the urgency at this moment and time. Russia is the largest nationality on the list of country nationals obtaining golden passports and visas. 

Spain has quickly acted and temporarily frozen Golden Visa applications for Russian nationals, similarly to the United Kingdom scrapping its own Golden Visa program.

Summarising, the European Parliament intends to discourage applicants “in bad faith who acquire national citizenship merely for the access it gives them to the territory of the Union and its internal market, without having any links to the Member State concerned”.

Although each country is sovereign in deciding the conditions under which it grants or withdraws its nationality and these new recommendations don´t have any immediate effect on investors who have a legitimate investment, the regulation that the EU countries will have to adopt regarding residency through investment from now on will have to be in line with European standards.

These new requirements call for specialised legal and advice for new applications. Del Canto Chambers immigration team in London and Spain is specialised in Golden Visa for UK citizens. Please email clerk@delcantochambers.com to schedule a complementary call to discuss your case.