Hong Kong protests getting you down? Thailand and Greece offer cheap way to become residents

By Cheryl Arcibalcheryl.arcibal@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/property/hong-kong-china/article/3024475/hong-kong-protests-getting-you-down-thailand-and-greece?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | September 11, 2019 11:57 AM SGT
Daydreaming about moving away from Hong Kong's political tensions? Thailand and Greece might be worth considering " they offer cheap options for residency.
For a one-time fee of about US$16,000, successful applicants can get into Thailand's Elite Residence Programme, the cheapest in Asia. Greece, meanwhile, is cheapest in Europe to offer a golden visa, with a minimum property investment of US$277,000.
Although vastly different, the two programmes give investors options, should they want to move overseas in a hurry.
"When you compare Thailand's programme versus that of Greece, the one you choose depends on your priorities," said Georg Chmiel, executive chairman at property portal Juwai.com.
"In Thailand, you are simply paying a fee for the privilege of residency and you will never see that money again. In Greece, you are investing in real estate and presumably can get that money back when you sell the property and maybe earn a return on that investment," he said.
More Hongkongers are thinking about leaving, according to city data showing a recent surge in the number of locals seeking police checks showing they do not have a criminal record. These documents are critical to applying for a foreign visa.
"Applications increased 12 per cent in June, 41 per cent in July, and 48 per cent in the first two weeks of August," said Chmiel.
"This is evidence that many Hong Kongers truly are seeking to move overseas or at least to obtain residency overseas so that they have the option to go."
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Under Bangkok's programme, you get a visa allowing you to live there for between five and 20 years, plus expedited immigration formalities and passport-control processing. It does not put you in line for eventual citizenship.
Still, the programme...