We don’t think we will see the big rush like what we have seen in the past few months, but Portugal Golden Visa will continue to stay and be one of the best options out there for people seeking a Plan B. The number of applicants would not be any less than previous years (other than 2021 for obvious reasons) after the regulation changes. In fact, there are already clients onboard for application next year with 500k funds and 280k property options. And more are waiting for new investment options to come out to make the decision.
There are still ample investment options out there – commercial properties, low density properties, student accommodations, touristic apartments, buying Lisbon properties via fund, and investment fund. We believe the 500k (for the fund route) would soon become the new 350k.
We are also seeing some fund managers who used to target exclusively institutional investors, trust and/ or family offices planning to come into the playing field. Meaning clients may have more sophisticated options on funds, where previously they were just opened for investment amounts of 5 millions and up.
All in all, 2023 is going to be another interesting year.
However, along with the Golden Visa, several other visa schemes offered by Portugal are currently being re-evaluated, according to Prime Minister Costa, who also emphasized that Portugal wants to continue to be attractive to foreign investors and cited as an example the recently enacted Digital Nomads Visa that permits remote workers with high monthly incomes to live and work in Portugal.
Portugal’s move seems to be a response to a new drive by the European Parliament to shrink and regulate the multi-billion-euro citizenship and visa industries, which the E.U. has long considered a security risk.
The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has called the schemes “objectionable from an ethical, legal and economic point of view.” “The bar for what counts as an investment has been too low for too long,” a Parliament report complains. “E.U. residency should only be awarded to people who are investing in the real economy and who can be trusted to be legitimate investors without criminal backgrounds.”
More recently, since the war in Ukraine, the E.U.’s demand has taken a more urgent tone to suspend the sale of visas to Russians and Belarusians. “It comes amid concerns that people hit by European Union sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be holders of E.U. golden visas or passports,” according to Reuters.
“Some Russian or Belarusian nationals who are subject to sanctions or are significantly supporting the war in Ukraine might have acquired E.U. citizenship or privileged access to the E.U., including to travel freely in the Schengen area, under these schemes,” the European Commission said.
It has also recommended that governments check whether sanctioned individuals were holding golden passports they have issued.
Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria, which also run Golden Visa schemes, have committed to ending them so the future of the Portugal Golden Visa looks bright but uncertain.