By Eylul Elmaghraby
Indian investor Samahit Bal invested in Greece’s Golden Visa program in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was assisted by the investment consultants at Golden Visa Greece by Energopiisi SA each step of the process from making investment decisions to devising a tailor-made strategy that helped him accomplish his goals. Bal shares the personal story behind his residency-by-investment journey with Uglobal Immigration Magazine.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself, your work and your family?
I am an average man from India, who was generally not happy with things around me, mainly due to the political situation. I’ve always had this dream and ambition to live life on my own terms, somewhere away from India, even before the rule of these divisive politics. Having been born into a family that had involvement in media, I always wanted to work in that field. I started working full-time for various media organizations—mostly sales and marketing departments—while continuing my education. Like most middle-class families, my parents wanted me to get married at a reasonable age and raise a family. I did manage to do that and have two fantastic boys.
Why did you decide to relocate to Greece?
In 2019, when I was approaching the 50th year of my mostly average existence, reality struck. One lazy afternoon, I just randomly googled residency in Greece. Before that, I was dabbling with various choices in in my mind. New Zealand, Scotland, and a few other countries were on my radar of romantic dreams, but had been struck off for various reasons.
As a not-so-well-travelled person, I always had a fascination for Europe. And since this would be a post-retirement life without much income, budget was also of prime importance. So, I had more or less decided on an Eastern European country. I did no particular research or had any input from friends, who mostly laughed the idea off as one of my many blabbers. So here I was… No information, no definite destination, just a dream that I wanted to convert into reality.
What was your main motivation behind investing in the Golden Visa program?
Many investors tend to do this for reasons like tax benefits, property issues or liabilities they want to avoid… I’m not proclaiming that I have no such reasons; having taken charge of a debt-ridden company ruled by chaos, I have left the company with zero liability—with the support of a handful. It became a really strong platform from where it can only grow. So, the main reason behind my migration was to find peace and solace; to live somewhere I could do things at my own pace without a bother in the world.
How would you describe the decision-making process you went through before you invested in Greece’s residency by investment program?
After finding the golden visa program at the top of the results pages of my search, I just entered my phone number in the relevant field and moved on. I had no expectations from such a random act, having communicated with a couple of the world’s top relocation companies, without much result. I’m not good with dates but this was one afternoon mid-May in the year 2019. Next day, I got a call from some unknown number, and that single call from Energopiisi SA is the reason why I am here today, a happy permanent resident of Greece.
Powered by Froala Editor
What was your experience working with Energopiisi SA? How did they help you?
After a few calls and exchanges of emails, I got to know Mary Tsiganou, a very kind lady and a committed attorney, who would respond to seemingly unimportant—almost irrelevant—queries at late hours with so much sincerity and details that I felt guilty many times. And it may be relevant to mention here that I did not, until this point, own one square inch of property anywhere in the world; nothing at all. In January 2020, I landed at the Athens airport in search of a suitable house and to begin the process of starting a totally new life.
I will digress a bit here to offer some personal input about my mental and physical state at that time. I always had a weakness for alcoholic beverages, and at that phase, I was almost an alcoholic. I feel so ashamed of the way I conducted myself those few days. But even during that phase, I could feel the patience and understanding of Martinos and Mary, who would so kindly guide me through everything as if it was normal… Trust me, it was not.
Later on, we saw quite a few houses. We finally decided on a house that suited my budget and ticked most of the boxes on the list and the next day we went off to Corfu to relax for five days. When we got back, I signed a power of attorney to Mary’s company to act on my behalf for the formalities. By then, I owed Energopiisi a substantial percentage of my fees, which I couldn’t solve at the time. But even despite all of that, they trusted me and did everything possible without a single penny of payment to their company. This says a lot about the culture of the company in general, and Mary in particular.
And I have been blessed by many who have played that role when I was losing my way in life. Even though I have two biological brothers, Mr Harry is like an elder brother I always craved to have. He has made this journey possible in his own silent, stylish elegance that very few I have come across can match.
What was the next step of your immigration journey? Did COVID-19 have any effect?
By March 2020, I was about to start making payments for the chosen house, but that property was not feasible anymore. And then COVID-19 struck, ruling out another visit to check out more properties and decide. Many would find this a little strange, but I did finalize a property at Porto Rafti—where I am sitting comfortably and penning this—all based on mere descriptions and a patchily shot video of the house. For someone who has not owned anything anywhere before, this kind of acquisition might sound unbelievable, but it’s a fact and a reality today because of my investment consultants. Everything was done seamlessly with all concerns taken care of by themselves, which includes helping me set up the house partly during the lockdown in January 2021.
Can you tell us about your life in Greece? What challenges or benefits has it offered you so far?
I do miss my family from time to time. They are unable to join me here due to COVID-related restrictions, but they will be here soon to partake in the peace that has provided me with. This country, with one of the richest cultural histories on planet Earth, has chosen me.
Powered by Froala Editor