After a successful ten-year run, Portugal's Golden Visa scheme has officially come to an end. This decision has caused mixed reactions among locals and international investors alike.
The Golden Visa programme enabled foreign investors to obtain residency in Portugal by making financial investments in the country. However, after a recent housing crisis and concerns about the scheme's effectiveness, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has confirmed the programme's termination.
According to local media, all new applications for Golden Visas lodged after February 16th, 2023, are no longer valid. Residence permits for investment will remain effective, but Costa notes that "nothing justifies a special regime for Golden Visas."
The termination of the scheme comes after 89% of residence permits were exclusively for real estate purchases. There were only 22 cases where investors created jobs, making the programme's effectiveness debatable.
However, Golden Visas for entrepreneurship will still be available. This type of visa enables foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop a project 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 notes that Chinese nationals are the main beneficiaries, representing 45% of total Golden Visas obtained. Brazilians come in second at 10%, followed by a large number of beneficiaries from the United States, South Africa, and Turkey. In total, the number of non-EU foreigners who obtained a Portuguese residence permit, including their family members, has reached around 31,000.
Golden Visas have brought Portugal an additional €5.9 billion during the last decade, according to data from the Foreigners and Border Service (SEF). This figure highlights the potential economic impact that the scheme had on the country.
Terminating the programme poses a potential risk to Portugal's digital nomads, as the cancellation of one form of visa could cause uncertainty to others. However, Portugal is determined to become a more attractive country for digital nomads, who are now heading towards other countries like Dubai, Singapore, Turkey, Germany, and Hong Kong.
In conclusion, Portugal's Golden Visa scheme has ended, bringing to a close a ten-year period that saw billions of growth in the national economy. The decision to terminate the programme follows a housing crisis and concerns about its effectiveness. However, Golden Visas for entrepreneurship will still be available, enabling foreign entrepreneurs to develop a project in Portugal.