Portugal Confirms End of Golden Visa Scheme

After ten years of a successful golden visa scheme, Portugal has confirmed the scheme’s termination, which has brought the national economy growth billions.

According to local media, all applications for new golden visas lodged after February 16, are no longer valid while residence permits for investment will remain effective, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“Nothing justifies a special regime for golden visas,” the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, said.

He also noted that between 2012 and 2023 89 per cent of residence permits were exclusively for the purchase of the real estate, with only 22 cases in which investors created jobs.

Costa also noted that residence permits granted under the scheme will be converted into normal residence permits, similar to those of foreign citizens so that everyone is equal according to the national law.

However, golden visas for entrepreneurship will remain available for those interested, which enables foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop a project in this field in Portugal, to do so. These new visa applications are assessed by taking into account the economic, social, scientific, technological or cultural relevance of the investment.

A report by El Pais, a total of 11,758 Golden Visas was granted by authorities in Portugal between October 2019 and February 2023. The number of non-EU foreigners who obtained a Portuguese residence permit, in addition to their family members, has reached around 31,000.

Chinese nationals remain the main beneficiary, representing 45 per cent of total golden visas obtained, followed by Brazilians (ten per cent), in addition to a large number of beneficiaries from the United States, South Africa and Turkey.

Under Portugal’s Golden Visa Program wealthy foreign investors obtain residency in the country by making financial investments in the country. The decision to terminate this programme follows a housing crisis that Portugal is dealing with presently, among other reasons.

Terminating the residence-by-investment programme, Portugal risks losing digital nomads, as the latter have concerns about their future in the country. Now digital nomads are mainly headed towards Dubai, Singapore, Turkey, Germany and Hong Kong.

On the other hand, Portugal is determined to become a more attractive country for digital nomads, who are concerned that cancelling one form of visa can cause uncertainty to others and make them think about whether want to stay here and what happened to golden visa investors could eventually happen to them.

According to data from the Foreigners and Border Service (SEF), golden visa investments in real estate have brought Portugal an additional €5.9 billion during the last decade.

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