Portugal Ends Golden Visa Program Linked to Real Estate
The government of Portugal has recently put an end to its "golden visa" program linked to real estate, which had been granting residency to affluent investors. This decision, announced on February 16, 2023, by Prime Minister António Costa, was made in response to the housing challenges the country has been facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. The government is now implementing a set of measures aimed at addressing the issue of affordable housing.
As per the announcement, existing golden visas will only be renewed if the property purchased by the holders is used by them or intended for long-term rentals. The future of the golden visa program for other types of businesses remains uncertain, as the Prime Minister only spoke about its housing aspect. However, to make the program more targeted and efficient, it is expected to be similar to the US E-2 Visa and focus on investments that create jobs and benefit the Portuguese economy at large. The program has been popular not only with Chinese investors but also with US nationals.
This is the second announcement within a few months regarding the golden visa program. In November of the previous year, Prime Minister Costa had suggested that the program might no longer be necessary, stating that its continuation was "unjustified." In 2021, his administration had already taken measures to limit the issuance of golden visas, excluding property purchases in high-value urban areas such as Lisbon, where home prices have doubled since 2015.
Ireland had also announced a day earlier that it was scrapping its European Golden Visa program, citing other concerns. These restrictions will likely push more applicants to Malta, Greece, and Spain, although the latter countries have announced that they will increase the minimum requirements.