Portugal´s “golden visa” is back. After a brief suspension, government officials reinstituted the popular residency program.
According to the minister, the issuing of the “golden visa” can be resumed as soon as the statute is posted by Portugal’s president. “The government wants the approval of the new law and the new regulation to move to the resumption of the volume of investment that we had been seeing,” he said. The changes made to the Foreigners Law are aimed at encouraging a broader range of investments and at the same time bolstering the checks on the processing of applications.
The present program is set to be reopened but there will be some changes to the requirements. Officials have not released the specifics as yet.
The residency through investment program was suspended in July amid charges of corruption. The investigation erupted across Portugal resulting in the detention of nearly a dozen people from the border agency, the justice ministry and higher in the government. Interior Minister Macedo resigned his position all the while proclaiming his innocence. The Portuguese government stated that they were planning to charge the minister with money laundering in the “golden visa” scandal. The indication was that applicants were making purchases for less than the legal minimum and the balance was going into some official’s deep pockets.
This left many foreign applicants in a bad spot with their petitions for residency. The applications in process were allowed to continue, but many others were left with uncertainty and doubt.
But this ban was short lived as the Portuguese government passed a decree that the ban on the “golden visa” has been lifted.
“It would be a shame if Portugal misses out on investments from other countries because of the turmoil created by a court case,” government spokesman Luis Marques Guedes said Thursday, after announcing the new decree.
How The Portuguese “Golden Visa” Works
The present program allows for foreigners to apply for a residency permit by investing in the country. To do this you simply have to transfer capital, purchase real estate, or create jobs for the locals. Once you acquire the Golden Residence Permit for Investment Activity, you have the right to family regrouping, access to permanent residency, and a Portuguese citizenship in accordance to legal provisions.
All you need is 500,000 euros and the proper applications.
This type of program is not unique and Portuguese officials were anxious to have it reinstated before the potential investors began to look elsewhere. The “golden visa” program reaped nearly 1.5 billion euros from Oct. 2012 to June 2015. There were 2,290 applicants who bought real estate, 128 applicants transferred capital, and only 3 by creating jobs. The primary demographic in this case were Chinese citizens, who claimed 1,950 permits. Thousands more from around the world have taken advantage of this program and the interest is still high.