Always wanted to live and work without restrictions in the European Union?
Now you can! Bulgaria has a foreign investors plan that will give investors who bring €511.292 (BGN 1,000,000) into the country a Bulgarian passport (but no job). As Bulgaria has signed up to the EU and the Schengen agreement you will eventually be able to live and work anywhere in the European Union.
This has been in place since 2009 and only recently attracted the attention of the UK based Telegraph newspaper, who blew it up into a big media frenzy. There is currently a bit of Bulgaria/Romania scaremongering going on in the UK media and this fits the bill for journalists who want to create sensationalist, finger pointing articles.
Had the Telegraph done their homework they would have discovered that other European nations have similar schemes, albeit more expensive. Which makes sense, as the UK for instance, is more in demand than Bulgaria. Hence, the UK attracts Russian, Chinese, Indian and other billionaires, who, after following the correct procedures can apply for a UK passport after 5 years. Or if they invest £10 million this can be fast tracked to 3 years.
Nothing different from the Bulgarian ‘scam’ the Telegraph cried about. Investors in Bulgaria can also only apply for a Bulgarian passport after 5 years or get a fast track if they invest more. The only difference is that the investor does not have to be there physically and the amounts are smaller, but still large enough to limit the number of people applying.
The investor does not have to live or work in Bulgaria, as long as he deposits the required funds in Bulgaria, contrary to the UK where the investor has to spend 50% of their time. There is no residence requirement in Bulgaria, leaving the investor free to reside wherever they want (outside the EU that is), until the time has come to collect their Bulgarian passport and then troop off to the UK. (Investors in the UK could move to Bulgaria after 5 years as well.)
So, what’s the fuss about? Nothing really. Just an example of the media whipping up a storm in a teacup and preparing the Brits for more “I told you so. Europe is corrupt” stories.
If you were an investor, would you want to deposit large amounts of money in a Bulgarian bank and receive hardly any interest? Not a very sound investment…. I’d rather invest and work with my money, to make sure the money works for me, rather than for a government.
And what the journalist trumpets as a big crime, not having to physically be in Bulgaria, can also be construed as a negative thing, as the UK scheme forces you to live in the UK. And I thought that was what is was all about? Or am I missing something here?
No wonder the Brits are so anti-European when the media constantly dish up these kind of stories.