Portugal To End Golden Visa Scheme

Portugal To End Golden Visa Scheme

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that Portugal is likely to scrap its residence-by-investment scheme, commonly known as the ‘golden visa’.

The golden visa was first introduced to Portugal 10 years ago and has since allowed entry to 30,000 people, including applicants and family members, who with residence get access to EU visas and can buy profitable houses and apartments.

The Prime Minister explained that the programme has “fulfilled its role” over the decade it has been active. 

The golden visa scheme was heavily criticised for causing local house prices and rents to soar, as well as intervention from the European Commission (EC) which called for such schemes to be shut down.

Since its inception, Portugal has attracted €6.5bn in investments by foreign nationals such as China, Brazil, the US, and South Africa, with most of the money going into property. 

Costa added that the scheme was only one of several visa programmes the country is currently re-evaluating. Costa stated the government was hoping to attract people to the country with a new digital nomad initiative that will grant one-year residency permits to foreign professionals with a high monthly income.

Portugal wants to be an “open country where everyone is welcome and can develop their life projects”, he said.

Under Pressure

The European Commission and European Parliament have long criticised golden visa and passport schemes as it gives a fast-track route to EU citizenship not on merit but based on purely financial reasons.

“Investor citizenship schemes undermine the essence of EU citizenship and have implications for the Union as a whole,” the Commission said when launching a case against Maltese passport schemes earlier this year.

Portugal has already temporarily suspended the scheme for Russians following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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