By Moustafa Daly
In a move that surprised many, the Portuguese government on Tuesday submitted a proposal to the parliament backtracking on its plans to fully cancel the golden visa program, however still pursuing an end to the real estate option.
“In an unexpected turn of events, the government has recently introduced a proposed amendment to the bill called ‘More Housing’ following continued discussions in the public sphere and renewed efforts by the industry,” says Raquel de Matos Esteves, founding partner at RME Legal, to Uglobal.
“Regarding the Golden Visa program, it is worth noting that its termination would no longer be comprehensive but rather limited to specific investment opportunities,” she adds.
What routes would remain available for Portugal’s golden visa investors?
While the popular real estate route, costing investors €250,000, is seemingly on the way out, the government’s proposal seeks to maintain several routes for foreigners seeking the country’s golden visa – namely the scientific research contribution and VC investment routes each costing €500,000, cultural and artistic contribution costing €250,000, and any foreign investment that creates at least 5 to 10 jobs.
“It will no longer be permissible to make investments through Capital Transfers (€1.5 million) or real estate acquisitions (€250,000),” elaborates Esteves.
The government’s proposed adjustment to the housing bill also introduces a biennial evaluation of investment routes, says Esteves, and lacks any adjustment to the renewal conditions of the golden visa.
“We attribute this lack of adjustment to the extensive scope of the proposed legislative changes, which encompass various areas, including taxation,” explains Esteves.
When will the ‘More Housing’ bill pass Portugal’s parliament?
The bill, along with the proposed changes, is expected to pass the parliament vote.
“Given the government party's majority, we anticipate these changes will be approved. Therefore, it is encouraging that the existing legal framework for investment-based residence permits will be maintained, albeit with a reduction in eligible investments,” anticipates Esteves.
July 18, 2023, would be the final date the bill could be submitted. Once approved and signed by the president, professionals anticipate the bill to come into full effect by August 2023.
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