Portuguese Parliament votes to maintain five golden visa options, scraps real estate route

Article By Uglobal Staff

By Moustafa Daly

In its final vote on the ‘Housing Bill’, the Portuguese Parliament approved the government’s proposal to end the real estate golden visa while maintaining other golden visa routes for international investors.

The bill, which initially aimed at ending the golden visa program altogether, was later amended to accommodate escalating demands to maintain routes that don’t impact the country’s current housing crisis, cited by the government as the main reason for pursuing the end of the program. 

“For new investors, the interest in Portugal remains as the country is very attractive and the possibility of acquiring citizenship in five years keeps Portugal very well positioned in comparison to other residency by investment programs,” says Raquel de Matos Esteves, lawyer and founding partner at RME Legal, to Uglobal. “Now it becomes clear that the program will continue and there are several available options to explore.”

Reiterating a similar sentiment, Sara Sousa Rebolo, partner at Prime Legal, said in a written statement to Uglobal: “Considering the starting point of this legislative process, it is undeniable the achievements that were accomplished with all the initiatives. Although it is not the best solution, the final wording shows receptivity to the suggestions of the market. As such, we believe that this proposal brings the necessary security for Investors,” she adds.

While the government had at first set out to apply the bill with retroactive effect, it later backtracked on that position.

“Current golden visa holders are happy that their rights won’t be affected, and family members will keep the same minimum stay requirements in Portugal while renewing their residence cards,” explains de Matos Esteves.

Moreover, all applications submitted before the Parliament vote would continue to be considered and processed by authorities, albeit with the possibility of being converted into Entrepreneur Permits instead. Current golden visa holders can still include new family members in their visas if they wish.

Five available routes remain open to Portugal’s golden visa investors

The routes that remain available to investors cost between €250,000 and €500,000.

For €250,000, investors could choose to make contributions to research institutions that are recognized on a national level. The second option is - contributing to the preservation of national cultural heritage or any projects of artistic or cultural significance.

The €500,000 threshold is open for foreigners seeking to invest in venture capital funds given that the investment would mature in five years at the earliest. For the same threshold, investors can also directly invest in a commercial enterprise that creates at least five permanent jobs for locals, for a minimum of three years.

The fifth and final route is for any investment that creates at least 10 jobs for locals.

Moreover, the bill stipulates that investment activities would have to undergo an evaluation every two years “regarding their impacts on the activity scientific, cultural and promotion of foreign direct investment and job creation work,” explains Rebolo.

What’s the timeline for the imposition of Portugal’s More Housing bill? 

Now that a final Parliament vote has concluded, the bill is soon heading to the office of the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who will have 20 days to decide to ratify, veto, or return the bill to the Parliament for amendments. He could also accept the bill but send it to the Constitutional Court to confirm the legality and constitutionality of its provisions.

“It is not possible to predict if he will decide in a shorter or longer period – on one hand, by tradition, he is very fast in approving diplomas considering that he was a law professor and is following very closely the legislative process,” explains Rebolo. 

“On the other hand, it is a very extensive diploma with several matter included –rentals, real estate licensing, local accommodation and golden visas and we are officially in summer vacation period,” she further elaborates, adding that these circumstances make it hard to predict when the new bill would come in full effect.

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Uglobal Staff
Uglobal Staff

Uglobal.com, along with its peer-reviewed magazines and conferences series, focuses on the global investment immigration market, offering the latest trends and analyses. Uglobal.com is a media platform built to provide professionals involved with global programs with the most comprehensive and credible sources of information in digital, print and seminar mediums. The platform was created out of the need for marketplace transparency and to more efficiently connect individuals interested in learning about the global programs - either as a potential capital source or as a solution for their immigration needs. The Uglobal publication collaborates with a network of leading experts and an authoritative board of advisors to uphold a high standard in all content delivered and events hosted by the organization.

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