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Hungary announces end to residency bonds

The sale of residency bonds, the subject of some controversy lately, is coming to an end, as Hungaryʼs Government Debt Management Agency (ÁKK) announced today that applications for residency bonds will no longer be accepted after March 31, according to reports.

The ÁKK said it will stop selling residency bonds, citing "the favorable financial position that developed last year," Hungarian news agency MTI reported. The ÁKK said it had sold residency bonds worth more than EUR 1 billion since the scheme was launched in June 2013.

Foreign nationals who buy securities backed by the bonds with a face value of EUR 300,000 enjoy an accelerated application procedure for permanent residence in Hungary, MTI recalled.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár said at the end of October that the Hungarian government planned to stop selling residency bonds,  claiming the program was no longer needed since the countryʼs upgrades by rating agencies. However, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said a few days later that the system should not be scrapped but re-evaluated, according to MTI.

A public dialogue on the residency bonds started when Jobbik said it would only support Fideszʼs change to the Fundamental Law (constitution) enshrining rejection of the EUʼs planned refugee quotas provided sales of residency bonds ended. Fidesz did not announce the end of residency bonds by Jobbikʼs deadline, and the amendment was not passed by Parliament.

Later Jobbik submitted Fideszʼs original amendment, but modified the text of the original by adding a single line that would have put an end to the sale of residency bonds. Fidesz MPs voted against the amendment, however, and it was never brought before Parliament.