ATHENS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Greece has raised at least 1 billion euros (1.1 billion U.S. dollars) from its golden visa program within the past four years, Greek Deputy Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said on Friday.
"The results so far are very encouraging and the trend positive," the Greek official told the parliament in Athens responding to a question submitted by an opposition party MP, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.
According to data collected by Greek authorities by April 30 this year, a total of 1,684 visas have been offered to third country citizens of which 701 were Chinese, Pitsiorlas said.
Russian nationals followed with 357 visas, Egyptians with 84, 81 Turks, 78 from Lebanon, 79 from Ukraine, 53 from Iraq, 45 from Syria, 37 from Jordan and 16 from Saudi Arabia.
In 2013, when the program was launched, only 20 visas had been granted.
Under the Greek golden visa program, Greece grants residence permits to third country citizens who buy property assets worth more than 250,000 euros in Greece, as well their family members.
The program was launched in a bid to boost the country's growth prospects, so far the results are positive and the government intends to improve it soon, Pitsiorlas said, without elaborating on the amendments planned.
According to AMNA, citing government sources, the golden visa program in the future will also include assets beyond real estate property, like investments in the bond market worth 250,000 euros.