"It is an opportunity for the Autonomous Region of Madeira, an opportunity for the economy of Madeira, an opportunity for a sector in full growth," said the Secretary of Economy, Rui Barreto, stressing that the outlook of the real estate agents is of "confidence" and "growth".

The secretary of state, who was speaking at the opening of a seminar on gold visas in Funchal, believes that the recent changes in the Residence Permit for Investment (ARI) programme, which exclude Lisbon and Porto, are an "enormous opportunity" for Madeira.

The citizens who have made purchases over €500,000 in the autonomous region since 2017, under the ARI, are mostly Russians and Americans, with Brazilians, Chinese, South Africans and Bolivians also registered.

"We are talking about investments in the luxury residential area, but the Regional Government is also concerned about the supply in the real estate market for residents and people who have low income," said Rui Barreto, admitting that gold visas inflate the price of houses.

The Secretary of Economy pointed out that the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) for Madeira provides 136 million euros for housing construction at controlled prices and rental support.

According to data from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) released in January, investment captured through gold visas increased 52 percent nationally in December, compared to the same period in 2020, to 42.1 million euros.

In December 2020, the investment amounted to 27.7 million euros.

Compared to November 2021 (€46.6 million), the amount raised through the Residence Permit for Investment programme fell by 9.6 percent.

In cumulative terms, investment by gold visas fell 28.7 percent last year, compared to 2020, to €460.8 million.

Since the ARI granting programme was launched in October 2012, €6,099,799,479.59 has been raised via this instrument. Of this amount, most corresponds to the purchase of real estate, which totalled €5,507,194,225.00 until December, and the acquisition for urban rehabilitation amounted to €362,502,992.45.

The investment resulting from the capital transfer is 592,605,254.59 euros.

In over nine years, 9,585 visas have been granted for the purchase of property, of which 1,009 are for urban regeneration.

There were 649 visas granted for capital transfers and 20 for job creation.

Since the beginning of the programme 17,221 residence permits have been granted to regrouped families, of which 1,171 in 2021.