Visa-free access to European Union countries should not be used as a commercial product that can be sold and bought; ” said the European Commission, expressing concerns about investor residency and citizenship programs.
In its sixth report on the visa suspension mechanism, the European Commission said it was particularly concerned about investor citizenship programs that are “commercially promoted” as offering visa-free access to the bloc. SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The annual report published by the Commission since 2017 covers states that have engaged in dialogue on visa liberalization in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership, as well as countries in the Pacific and Caribbean that are implementing such programs.
In its recent report, the EU considered that such programs are incompatible with the principles and conditions underlying the visa waiver and could therefore pose security risks to the EU and its Member States.
The aim of visa waiver agreements is to facilitate contact between people between the EU and a third country, and not to allow nationals of other third countries subject to visa requirements to circumvent the visa procedure. EU short stay visa when acquiring citizenship.
Concerns related to investor residency and citizenship programs that allow foreigners to acquire residency and citizenship in countries offering such programs were also raised by the European Parliament in its resolution of March 9, 2022, with proposals to the Commission on Citizenship and residency by investment programs.
The resolution calls on the Commission to exert as much pressure as possible to ensure that third countries that have established investor citizenship programs and benefit from visa-free travel under Annex II of Regulation (EU) 2018/ 1806 abolish these programs, and to present a proposal to amend Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 to include the operation of investor citizenship programs as a reason for suspending visa exemptions.
The residency by investment program, known as the Golden Visa program, gives wealthy internationals the opportunity to acquire residency in countries that operate such programs in exchange for a financial contribution.
Meanwhile, citizenship by investment programs, known as Golden Passport programs, are dedicated to those who wish to acquire citizenship in European countries offering such opportunities.
Although these programs provide significant financial contributions to the states that set them up, they have often been the target of numerous illegal affairs and involved in several illegal affairs such as tax evasion, corruption and money laundering. , among others. others. So, some of them have already ended.