By Anayat Durrani
Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa has announced that the government is considering ending Portugal’s popular Golden Visa program.
Costa said the government is reevaluating the program which he said had already served its purpose and is “no longer justified.” The introduction of the Golden Visa program in 2012 was meant to help revive Portugal’s economy and real estate market due to the financial and debt crisis that began in 2009. Costa said the government will evaluate whether continuing the Golden Visa program makes sense.
The Portuguese Golden Visa program is one of the most popular programs in Europe due to its many benefits and flexibility. The program attracts over one thousand main applicants annually. A Portuguese passport is the sixth most powerful passport worldwide, giving holders visa-free access to 187 countries.
"In my opinion, the program will not end, it will change so it will give preference to productive investments -- funds, hospitality, tourism, industry, and services mainly -- tech and startups and less in direct in real estate," said Tiago Gali Macedo, managing partner of NEXT/Gali Macedo & Associados.
European Commission and the future of Golden Visa programs
The program has been criticized for being responsible for skyrocketing property prices and rents in the country. Recent rule changes have since redirected real estate investments to other areas of the country that are less populated.
The European Commission called for an end to the program, considering such programs to be a security risk due to the possibility of money laundering and corruption. Portugal temporarily suspended the scheme for Russians after the country invaded Ukraine.
Portugal recently announced that they granted 120 Golden visas in September 2022 per figures provided by Portuguese News agency Lusa, from data provided by the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF). The figures showed that investment more than doubled in September this year compared to the same period last year.
Portugal’s Golden Visa is popular among investors from the U.S., China, Brazil, South Africa and Australia and allows investors from non-EU countries to get Portuguese residency when investing more than €280,000 in real estate, or at least €250,000 in contributions to the arts. Within the last 10 years, Portugal granted 11,180 residence permits to foreigners, totaling some €6.5 billion in investment.
Meanwhile, Portugal enacted a law on Oct. 31, establishing the digital nomads visa, which allows foreigners that have a considerable monthly income from remote work to reside and work based in Portugal for a year.
Costa said an official decision on whether to end the Golden Visa program would be announced once a full evaluation has been done.
This is a developing story.
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