By Symela Touchtidou
“Digital migrants”, youth of the “brain drain generation”, pensioners and wealthy individuals from all over the world.
What do they have in common?
They are on the list of the Greek government that seeks ways to boost the economy and reverse the brain drain of the crisis era.
To this end, it has launched different schemes aiming at different groups.
Let’s have a look
A 50% tax break for workers that move in Greece from abroad.
The law is not passed yet, but Alex Patelis, advisor of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on financial matters, told Reuters that legislation will be brought to parliament by the end of the year.
The aim is to attract “digital migrants”, i.e. professionals that have shifted to remote working after the coronavirus pandemic. The “digital migrants plan” will offer to professionals that have not been Greek tax residents within the last seven years a 50% exemption on income earned in Greece for seven years. The package will be available during 2021.
The programme “Rebrain Greece”.
The aim is to repatriate highly-qualified skilled Greeks who left the country during the decade long financial crisis. The government will pay 70% of salaries up to 3000 euros per month offered to the returnees. The program is dedicated to Greeks with postgraduate studies, with a minimum two years’ working experience abroad. Its first phase will run for one year. Greece ranks 26th out of the EU’s 28 in digital integration skills and the program aims at improving its position.
A 7% flat tax rate for foreign retirees.
The scheme aims at retirees that look for a warm, beautiful and hospitable place to stay. Similar schemes are also available in Spain and Portugal.
In Greece, the 7% flat rate applies to whatever income a retiree might have, be that rents, dividends as well as pensions. It is available to the citizens of countries that have double taxation treaties with Greece.
The ‘non-dom’ scheme.
The scheme aims at rich foreigners with money to invest. This is how it works: they move their tax residency in Greece, pay a flat tax of €100,000 and invest another €500,000 in the country.
After that, they can forget about the tax rate on their wealth.
The Greek government hopes that a series of investment projects can benefit from this scheme: from real estate to retail and construction. It promises good returns to the investors.
The notorious “Golden visa” program.
Though controversial in Europe, the Golden Visa programs are still available in many European countries, including Greece.
Furthermore, Greece has one of Europe’s most generous “golden visa” schemes, offering a renewable five-year resident’s permit in return for a 250,000 euro investment in real estate.
Launched in 2013 the program offers residence without citizenship.
There is no minimum stay requirement. The visa is renewed every five years if the property investment is retained. The program has been proven particularly popular with Chinese, Russian and Turk citizens, which are attracted by low real estate prices of the post crisis era.
Finally, there is the Brain Regain Initiative.
Brain Regain is the initiative of the Non Profit Foundation “Ellinikes Rizes” for the repatriation of overseas Greeks.
Practically, it offers guidance and “mentoring” to Greeks that plan to return to their homeland. The initiative is backed by 31 big Greek companies.