Deutsche Welle on 10th October reported that over a dozen EU member countries have government schemes in place that allow wealthy foreigners to obtain residency permits in return for large investments. Rights groups say the programmes pose risks of money laundering. A joint report by Global Witness and Transparency International notes schemes to trade citizenship for large investments currently exist in 13 EU states: Austria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Britain, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and France – but Hungary has terminated its programme. The report called for tighter rules and for the extension of AML rules to “all those involved in the visa-for-sale industry”. Campaigners said acquiring passports under such schemes cost an average of €900,000, with Cyprus’ passport costing up to €2 million. The report stated that EU nations generated around €25 billion in foreign direct investment in a decade from selling at least 6,000 passports and nearly 100,000 residency permits.
The report is available at –