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Portugal Ends 2 Golden Visa Schemes

The Government of Portugal has approved the new changes to the Golden Visa Program, part of the More Housing Program, which includes the termination of new residence permits for investments in housing, and the option to transfer at least €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account.

However, the new changes still need to be approved by the President, and he needs a total of 20 days to make his decision, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

The proposal was unfolded earlier this month by Portugal’s government, and it was supported in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, with votes in favor by Socialist Party (Partido Socialista), Bloque de Izquierda- a left-wing political party- and the Portuguese Communist Party.

In spite of the fact that the country decided to end the real state investment as a pathway to residency in this country, other golden visa pathways, such as those where applicants can create at least ten jobs, and donate to cultural institutions, continue to remain valid.

The current changes mean that foreign nationals are eligible to invest a total of €500,000 or more in qualifying funds, also taking into account venture capital funds. They can also invest up to €500,000 into a company that creates five jobs or maintains ten jobs.

In addition, other options, including transferring €500,000 to public or private scientific research institutions or transferring €250,000 to projects supporting artistic production, are effective.

Besides, the renewal of such residence permits continues to remain effective, according to local media reports.

The proposal to end new residence permits for investment in housing was included in the More Housing Program, which was previously announced by the country’s government in order to tackle the housing crisis and also regulate the real estate market.

But the new changes applied to the Golden Visa Program were opposed and considered counterproductive by the President of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque.

He considered that the project makes Local Accommodation a meaningless scapegoat for housing problems, emphasizing that it defrauds investors’ confidence.

Portugal’s decision to terminate new residence permits for investment in housing was condemned and considered unilateral by the President of the Government of the Azores, Jose Manuel Bolieiro.

“What I can say is the position of the Government of the Azores, which was favorable to the continuity of the golden visas and, taking into account their purpose, to express our disagreement and protest for the unilaterality of the decision,” Bolieiro pointed out in this regard.

In spite of such changes announced by authorities in Portugal, investments through the Residency by Investment Schemes increased significantly in the first half of this year, based on the figures from the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF).

The same noted that a total of 27.5 per cent year-on-year increase was marked during the same period, thus amounting to a total of €403 million.


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