Budapest, July 27 (MTI) – The opposition Socialists have called on the government to immediately terminate its scheme granting permanent residency to foreigners buying a certain amount of state bonds, Márta Demeter, a party lawmaker, said on Wednesday.
Under the scheme launched in 2013, foreign investors buying 300,000 euros worth of state securities are offered a residency permit that can be extended for five years and which allows free travel throughout the Schengen zone.
“The prime minister and ruling Fidesz have been selling Hungary’s security for cash with the scheme under which 16,000 immigrants have so far been lured to Hungary,” Demeter told a press conference.
She said that “off-shore businesses linked to government officials have so far gained over 100 billion forints (EUR 319m) on the scheme”.
Demeter demanded that the names of all bond holders be published, and referred to press reports suggesting the list includes criminals.
The interior ministry in response rejected the Socialists’ claims as unfounded and “false”, insisting that every single individual who submits an application to buy bonds is subject to scrutiny by four state authorities. These include the national immigration office, the counter terrorism agency, the constitution protection office and the police.
The applications are evaluated within 30 days, rather than a period of eight days before, the ministry said.