Golden Visa Portugal will remain alive, but changes are expected

La Golden Visa Portugal se mantendrá con cambios.

The Golden Visa Portugal program will continue with changes. There are not many programs in the world with the same magnetism as the Golden Visa Portugal. The most recent statistics demonstrate the undeniable success of investments achieved by this program, attracting more than 11,000 foreign investors to buy property, join an investment fund, or make a capital transfer.

While at the beginning of the year there were rumors that the program would disappear in 2023, the recent amendment to the proposed law “Mais Habitação” (More Housing) says the opposite. Considering that it was the Socialist Party itself that promoted this new law, which aimed to guarantee access to housing, many were surprised to see that what was being proposed is basically to maintain the Golden Visa Portugal program, with some investment possibilities removed.

Specifically, if the law is approved in the coming weeks, the possibility of making an investment through the purchase of real estate in Portugal will be removed. According to the justifications of the Portuguese government, this measure is related to the inability of many people to access housing in Portugal, especially in areas with high tourist density.

What is the future of the Golden Visa Portugal?

It is worth remembering that most Golden Visa Portugal applications are directly related to the purchase of a property for renovation for €280,000 or the purchase of a new property for €500,000 or more. This is criticized by associations that promote this type of investment, as these amounts are usually above the average home purchase prices in the country, even in the most expensive districts.

Vanesa Rodrigues Lima from the Portuguese Association of Immigration, Investment, and Relocation (PAIIR) points out that the parliamentary discussion will continue, perhaps even after July 19th, when the final discussions on the proposed law are scheduled to take place. “On that date, the industry will finally know the future of the Golden Visa Portugal program.”

These statements by Rodrigues Lima are related to the various fluctuations the government has had regarding the program. At the beginning of the year, statements from several members of the Socialist Party were clear, stating that the program would disappear, that it would have a retroactive effect on pending applications, and that the types of visas that could be accessed in the country would change. But the reality is that they backtracked first on some points like the retroactivity of the measure, and now the amendment clearly indicates that the program will continue with some changes.

What will change and how much time is left?

The amendment sent by the Portuguese government to the parliament implies eliminating two characteristics that made the Golden Visa Portugal program very attractive. Firstly, the possibility of purchasing any property, apparently throughout the country, will be removed. Although there is still time for this to change and perhaps allow the purchase of residences in areas of lower tourist density, only time will tell. Secondly, the new law will completely eliminate the possibility of making a capital transfer to the country and accessing the Golden Visa through that mechanism.

La Golden Visa Portugal se mantendrá con cambios.

Initially, the timeline could extend until the promulgation of the new law, and some specialists dare to say that the deadline will likely be in August, but nothing is certain yet. What is clear is that until the new law is enacted, there will be time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

The options mentioned in the amendment that would keep the Golden Visa Portugal program alive are:

Having a company in the country that generates at least 10 jobs.

Contributions to scientific research for €500,000 or more.

Cultural heritage/artistic productions for €250,000 or more.

Venture capital and investment funds for €500,000 or more.

Business investment that generates or maintains at least 5 jobs.

According to experts in Golden Visa Portugal, these changes are considered to be already reflected in the law, given that the Socialist Party has an absolute majority in Parliament, so these proposals are practically certain and will be reflected in the law. On the other hand, they point out that the 20% discount in low-density territories will probably be maintained, in an attempt by the government to encourage investments in those regions of the country.

Focus on real estate

Since the beginning of the program in Portugal, the option that generated the most interest among foreign investors was the possibility of buying a property for renovation for €280,000 or the option of real estate for €500,000 or more to access residence or Portuguese citizenship. In the 11 years that the Golden Visa has been in effect in the country, 12,000 Golden Visa applications have been approved, of which 37.5% of the applications in 2023 were for the purchase and renovation of real estate.

Broadly speaking, this represents 27% of the euro investments made by foreigners in the country, according to IMI Daily, while the case of purchasing a property for €500,000 encompasses 35% of the applications. These approvals of Golden Visa Portugal represent 50% of foreign direct investments, something that the opposition to the government points out as an impressive advantage for public accounts and Portuguese citizens interested in the real estate market.

The foreigners who benefit the most from this program

Another significant fact is that the majority of investors who apply for and access the Golden Visa Portugal program are Chinese, accounting for nearly 50% of the total. As of 2023, this represents a total of 5,349 Golden Visas granted to individuals of Chinese nationality, while Brazilian citizens follow at a distant second with 1,217 beneficiaries in the program so far.

In this regard, there is a noticeable growth in applicants from North America, who obtained over 400 new visas in 2022 alone, while the number of Chinese visas increased by 200 in the same year.

Do you want to learn more about how to take advantage of the last days of the Golden Visa Portugal in its current format? Contact us, and we will surely have an option for you.

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