The European Union has warned countries running lucrative schemes granting passports and visas to rich foreigners to toughen checks on applicants amid concern they could be flouting security and tax laws.
The EU Commission said in a report that so-called golden passports and visas offered in one EU country can open a back door to European citizenship or residency in all 28.
Migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the commission "will monitor full compliance with EU law".
He warned that "the work we have done together over the past years in terms of increasing security, strengthening our borders and closing information gaps should not be jeopardised".
He also added that legally residing in the EU and #Schengen comes with rights and privileges "that should not be abused".
Legally residing in the EU and #Schengen comes with rights&privileges that should not be abused. MS must fully apply existing obligatory checks and balances - national investor residence schemes should not be exempt. We will monitor compliance with EU law https://t.co/RkleckORhU pic.twitter.com/Mmdu03xxeL— Dimitris Avramopoulos (@Avramopoulos) January 23, 2019
The European Commission said that the 'golden passports’ can cause security risks for the EU, such as money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.
Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta offer passports to investors without connections to the countries or even the obligation to live there.
Twenty EU states offer visas for investment.
- Press Association