If you’ve ever fantasised about moving to a sunny island, now’s your chance: Sardinia is offering people a mammoth €15,000 to relocate.
The Italian island – the second largest in the Mediterranean – boasts sandy beaches, blue skies and turquoise waters.
But the island paradise faces dwindling rural population numbers, as young locals move abroad for work.
To combat this exodus, the government has set aside €45 million for the relocation grant, enough to cover 3,000 grants.
So if you’re already packing your suitcase, here’s everything you need to know.
What are the rules of the scheme?
The grant money sounds too good to be true – and there are a few caveats.
To be eligible for the grant, you will have to move to a Sardinian municipality with a population of less than 3,000 people.
The money must also be used to buy or renovate a home. The grant cannot exceed half of the total cost of the house or renovation – and the government will not always hand over the entire €15,000 sum.
Finally, recipients must live on the new property full time, and must register for permanent residency in Sardinia within 18 months of arrival.
Why is Sardinia offering people money to move there?
Italy’s population is ageing. The average age of Italians is 45.7 – a figure which is set to rise to 50.7 by 2050.
The overall population is projected to decline by nearly 20 per cent by 2070, from 59.55 million 47.6 million in 2070.
The problem is particularly severe in the country’s rural areas – and places like Sardinia are feeling the burn.
Sardinian president Christian Solinas said that the scheme would encourage young people to stay in Sardinia or move to the island.
“Thanks to these contributions to [homebuyers’] first houses, [Sardinia] becomes fertile ground for those who will move there or decide to build a family,” he said.
“There can be no growth without a real enhancement of the territories, of the interior and most disadvantaged areas… We have created the conditions for young people to decide to stay and develop the economic fabric of the most fragile territories.”
If you do move to the island, you can expect to be there a long time. With more than 500 people aged over 100, Sardinia has one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world – roughly 33 for every 100,000 inhabitants.
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