While foreign direct investments generated by CBI and RBI Program are generally responsible for social upliftment and benefit to citizens of the host countries, they are not universally popular. In popular Golden Visa destinations such as Lisbon and Porto in Portugal and Barcelona in Spain, these programs alongside the rise of short-term letting platforms such as Airbnb have contributed to sky-rocketing property prices, making these areas less affordable for locals.

These programs have therefore frequently received criticism, especially from the left of the political spectrum and from the EU’s headquarters in Brussels. Political sentiment is one thing, but law is another. As it stands, each sovereign country within the EU is within its rights to determine the conditions for awarding citizenship rights to foreign nationals, typically on the basis of exceptional investment, and these programs are completely legal.

The EU did apply economic pressure on Moldova, which led to the country abandoning its Citizenship By Investment Program before it even got off the ground.