Egyutt proposes parliamentary day of debate on residency bonds
Budapest, February 4 (MTI) – The opposition Egyutt party is proposing a parliamentary day of debate to clarify issues concerning the sale of residency bonds.
Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, who sits in parliament as an independent, said there is no need for residency bonds because they increase Hungary’s forex debt. The bonds are also available from offshore companies, which is against the constitution, and it is not known who acquires residence in Hungary.
Foreign nationals buying 300,000 euros worth of government bonds can obtain a residence permit that can be extended for five years.
She said it was unclear what parliament’s economic committee had to do with this “confusing issue”.
In a “normal case” the bond issue would be managed by the Hungarian state and the economy ministry would be responsible for it, she said.
Szelenyi said she would first contact the ruling party’s group leader and the head of the economic committee with a request for support for the day of debate
Radical nationalist party Jobbik also called for the residency bonds to be scrapped in their current form. Daniel Karpat, the party’s deputy group leader, told a news conference that it was unacceptable for unknown persons and business players to be allowed into the country as a forced means to boost budget revenues. He condemned that a large amount of the profit was being skimmed into companies with “a suspected offshore background”.
Fidesz parliamentary group leader Antal Rogan recently said the residency bond scheme was not an immigration issue but an opportunity for foreign exchange financing. The state pays interest on these bonds after five years and the yield is 150 basis points lower than the base rate, he added. On 500 million euros worth of residency bonds purchased so far, the Hungarian state has an interest advantage, which represents nearly 20 billion forints of profit, he said.
Buyers of residency bonds must fulfil the same requirements to become citizens as anybody else, Rogan said. Once they buy 300,000 euros worth of Hungarian government bonds, they get a short-term licence which can be extended for five years of residence. No citizenship is granted unless the person lives in Hungary for eight years, he added.
Since this scheme is designed to attract investors, any changes in the government’s immigration policy would be independent from the residency bonds scheme, Rogan said.