Hungary’s controversial Golden Visa scheme: ins and outs

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March 29 2018

In early March, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) launched a series of investigations into the EU member states’ Golden Visa programmes. The investigations show how governments have been trading citizenship or residence rights for investment and the risks such schemes may pose. The Hungarian government, in particular, has been operating, by design, a highly controversial programme. While currently no longer accepting applications, there have been talks that the government may resume the programme after the 2018 parliamentary election.

The Hungarian Investment Immigration Program allows non-European Union citizens to acquire Hungary’s permanent residency status by investing at least €300,000 in special Hungarian government bonds. Different to other Golden Visa schemes, individuals investing in the Hungarian programme are fully repaid after five years with a fixed interest rate of two per cent.