Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents A27
Thursday, November 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LONDON---A growing number of wealthy
foreigners are buying their way into Europe
as hard-pressed countries trade their pass-
ports for cash.
Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, which
have suffered the most from the region s pro-
longed recession, are offering visas to foreigners
who buy real estate. The goal is to lure invest-
ment and strengthen battered European
Chinese nationals are at the front of the
line for these golden tickets to Europe, immi-
gration experts say.
Interest from Russia, the United Arab Emi-
rates and South Africa is also stirring.
Foreign investors who purchase real estate
are granted residency rights, and in some
cases full European Union citizenship. The
minimum outlay ranges from €250,000 (about
US$340,000) to €500,000.
Portugal has been offering these deals for
just over a year. Foreigners receive a residency
permit when they invest €500,000 in prop-
After five years, they can apply for perma-
nent residency, and EU citizenship one year
later. Portugal is also trading visas to those
who inject capital or create jobs in the coun-
try---similar to the US immigrant investor
programme, which requires a minimum spend
Like those on offer in Spain, the Portuguese
visas grant access to the Schengen area, which
includes the bulk of the EU but not the UK.
Official figures show more than 330 visas
have been issued in the first 12 months of the
programme, raising €225 million.
By contrast, lawyers with Efthymios G
Navridis & Associates say just one application
for a so-called golden visa has been approved
Yet the flow of wealthy investors buying
the keys to Europe---via Portugal at least---is strength-
Francisco Barata Salgueiro, partner at Portuguese law
firm Neville de Rougemont and Associates, has seen a
steady rise in inquiries this year and currently advises
around 150 mostly Chinese investors on the golden visa
The increase partly reflects a watering down of the
law. In January, the minimum stay requirements were
scaled back significantly, to just 35 days over five years.
Salgueiro said most investors are lured by the prospect
of being able to travel freely throughout most of Europe.
"They also mention the flexibility of sending their
children to study in Europe. Quite a few will consider
retiring here," he said.
The Portuguese economy, one of the eurozone s
smallest, has paid a heavy price for the spending cuts
and reforms demanded in return for a €78 billion euro
The country recently emerged from its worst recession
in about 40 years, though unemployment remains near
record highs and the outlook is cloudy.
It hopes the revenue from visa-hungry investors will
help boost the ailing economy and revive the property
Singapore agency Premiere Realty is tapping into
growing demand in Asia for Portuguese real estate.
"A lot of Chinese want to migrate to Singapore but
aren t successful, so we work with immigration partners
who offer Portugal to their clients as an alternative,"
Premiere Realty s Florence Ang said.
Spain launched a program last month, with a few
key differences. The minimum outlay is also €500,000,
but those chasing EU citizenship will find it much more
Wannabe Europeans must live in Spain for more than
half the year for ten years before citizenship will be
And Ang reckons Portugal may be a wiser bet for
buyers seeking a return on their investment, as well as
Spain s property market is recovering very slowly
from the 2007 crash that tipped the country into a deep
"The real estate market in Portugal is definitely in
better shape," she said. (CNN Money)
Europe's golden visas lure rich Chinese
American Airlines and US Airways will combine
early next month and create the world s largest air-
A New York judge yesterday approved the settle-
ment reached earlier this month between the Justice
Department and both airlines, allowing American to
emerge from bankruptcy to complete the merger.
AMR Corporation, parent of American Airlines,
says the deal will be finalised on December 9. The
DOJ had initially (and aggressively) tried to prevent
the two popular US airlines from becoming one,
arguing that the move would hike airfare for all trav-
ellers and harm competition within the industry.
But as the antitrust battle waged on, the Justice
Department grew less combative, agreeing to allow
the merger if American and US Airways would give
up dozens of takeoff and landing slots at numerous
major airports across the US. As part of his ruling,
Judge Sean Lane also denied a separate attempt to
delay the merger by a group of consumers that have
privately sued the airlines with similar antitrust
Under terms of the deal, AMR Corporation will
be renamed American Airlines Group. The combined
airline will be larger than either United or Delta,
making it the industry s biggest. American didn t
bother waiting for the judge s ruling to begin cel-
ebrating; the company on Tuesday uploaded a
YouTube video saying the combined airline had been
"cleared for takeoff."
American Airlines, US
Airways merger will form
world's largest airline
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