There are already a few options available in Europe for an investor visa or entrepreneur visa as it is also known. The key difference in the offer from Spain and the Spanish government is that it significantly lowers the hurdle to just 160,000 Euros. (approx $210,000)
Portugal introduced legislation in October 2012 allowing resident visas for property investments over 500,000 Euros. The Irish government offers investment visas requiring a 1 million Euro investment (half of which can be in property)
Cyprus has a similar scheme offering investor residency visas for an investment of 300,000 Euros. However travel to Cyprus remains problematic with unresolved issues with Turkey and there are many problems with legality of home ownership and title deeds in Cyprus. The UK Foreign and Commenwealth Office believes there are over 100,000 home owners in Cyprus who have not been able to obtain their title deeds. Some for over 30 years.
The UK offers an investor visa for business investments of £1 million but there are plenty of conditions attached.
Elsewhere in the world the US Government operates the EB5 visa scheme requiring a minimum investment of $500,000 for which “USCIS may grant conditional permanent residence to the individual”. So that means invest $500,000 in a business which of course carries the risk of loss and then the US government will “consider” a residency application. Far from certain then.
So the legislation we await from the Spanish government is a significant game changer for those seeking residency abroad. Just €160,000 required. It can be in property and of course all the benefits of a second home in Spain with the culture, climate, the ease of getting by in English, excellent international schools and superb transport links to the rest of Europe.