The European Union has seen a proliferation of ‘golden visa’ programs that allow investors to gain residence in a country in exchange for a financial contribution. Despite substantial attention from Brussels and the media, no empirical study to date has systematically compared the outcomes of these increasingly popular schemes. Drawing on new government and public sources supplemented by interviews, this article offers the first comparison of the spread and demographic uptake of the programs, investigating trends in the country of origin, approval numbers, investment type, and family dependents, as well as the factors that affect demand and approvals. It also takes note of a small number of serial investor migrants – cases that may warrant heightened background checks. It concludes by assessing the significance of the flows and discussing the implications for residence by investment programs.
Kristin Surak, Who wants to buy a visa? Comparing the uptake of residence by investment programs in the European Union, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 2020.