Greece, Cyprus open doors to Indian investors

 thehindu.com  12/04/2019 20:07:34 

With the Greek government passing a law aimed at curbing migration, a leading property developer based in the Cyprus and Greek islands is offering Indians, along with citizens of 31 other countries, residency via investment in the island nations.

The offer comes against the backdrop of an ongoing refugee crisis in Greece, with Pantelis Leptos, deputy president of Leptos Group of Companies, stating that the financial and socio-political turbulence that has characterised the countries in the past has given people, especially Indians, an opportunity to invest there.

I feel like this is the beginning of something very big. We dont have any property or inheritance tax, the corporate tax is low and the tourism industry is booming. Therefore, it is an ideal place to invest. Recently, natural gas has been discovered in the sea between Cyprus and Greece, which will have a definite impact on the price and value of real estate in the countries. This is just the beginning of the turnaround of the economy, Mr. Leptos said.

Three schemes

The company, supported by the European Union (EU), provides three schemes through which one can avail of residency through investment in real estate. The first scheme is called the Cyprus Investment Program, which requires a minimum property purchase worth 16 crore. This scheme gives investors the right to live, work, travel and stay anywhere in the EU, as well as free travel to over 155 countries. The government has placed an annual cap of 700 passport approvals per year.

The other two schemes are the Cyprus Permanent Residency (CPR) and Greece Permanent Residency (GPR), which require a minimum investment of 2.5 crore and 2 crore respectively, and allow the investors to become official residents without having to physically reside in the country before and after approval, Sanjay Sachdev, Head of Marketing of Leptos Estates said. Mr. Sachdev said the main objectives behind the schemes were to increase investment in the country, to generate employment and, with a percentage of the investment going to the government fund, to build housing for the poor. More people are looking to become global citizens and gaining residency in another country. It is a great way of finding the best in healthcare, education, business and lifestyle while being able to travel freely within the EU, Mr. Leptos said.

He said an improved quality of life and a need for security are what global citizens strive for and the company helps them live the dream that they have always dreamed of.

This, however, excludes the asylum seekers desperation for security and a better quality of life. I dont invite immigrants, I invite investors. Immigrants come into the country without documents and without any reasoning. However, foreign investors in any country are very welcome, he said.

Mr. Leptos said their main target group is wealthy Indians with large families and family-run businesses, and that once obtained, the residency covers the entire family, which includes parents, grandparents and children under the age of 28 years.

While residents are not allowed to take up employment in the countries, the scheme does allow them to open businesses, and Indians in the island nations have successfully opened multiple restaurants and information technology companies, he said.

The scheme was extended to India six months ago, and Leptos Estates has set up offices in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru. They have so far issued five passports, four GPRs and two CPRs to Indians and expect the number to grow in a few years.

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