The golden visa was first introduced to Portugal 10 years ago, and has since allowed for the entry of 30,000 people, including applicants and family members, who invested around €6.6 billion in Portugal according to a report by Diário de Notícias.
The vast majority of the applicants came in through the purchase of properties and only 22 of these immigrants created jobs, another objective. The program has come under criticism, such as causing the cost of housing to rise and being abused.
"There are programmes that we are re-evaluating and one of them is the golden visa, which, probably, has already fulfilled the function it had to fulfil and which, at the moment, is no longer justified to maintain", António Costa told journalists at the end of a visit to the Web Summit.
While he did not give dates for the end of the golden visa, he underlined that it was being evaluated. "We are evaluating whether golden visas make sense, but there are other [regimes] that continue to make sense." He gave as an example of, Regressar, a financial support programme for emigrants who want to return to the country. He also mentioned the initiative to attract digital nomads, who can have a temporary stay visa.
Opposition to the visa
The Left Bloc is one of the parties that has defended the end of the Residence Permits for Investment (ARI). It considers that it contributes to the increase in the cost of housing and makes "our country an accomplice in international corruption" or "money laundering". Catarina Martins has challenged the PS to approve the party's proposal to end golden visas within the scope of the State Budget (OE) discussion. PCP and PAN also presented proposals in this regard. Livre also agrees with the end of these visas.
The PSD wants to know the Government's intentions and participate in the discussion, while Chega is against the end of the programme. The Liberal Initiative, on the other hand, admits the "elimination in the context of a review of the investment attraction policy". Also because, they note, "most of the investors adhering to the program come from autocratic countries like China and Russia". It's true for the number of Chinese, who make up 5194 of these visas, but Russians aren't even part of the top five anymore according to DN figures.
Between October 2012 (start of the program) and September 2022 (last month counted), 11,180 foreigners obtained a golden visa (ARI), to which 18,368 family members joined, totalling 29,548 according to data from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF). Most were attributed to Chinese (5,194), followed by those from Brazil (1,137), Turkey (530), USA (483) and South Africa (474).
Almost 90% of the €6.6 billion invested in the country (€5.9 billion) went into real estate.
In 2022, the monthly average of golden visas granted was 100. The year in which the most investors benefited from the programme was 2014 (1,526), 2015 with (1,414) and 2018 with (1,409).
Changing the rules
The rules for granting golden visas changed on 1 January. Now they only cover properties acquired in the interior of the country, in Madeira and in the Azores. The minimum capital invested changed from one million to 1.5 million euros. The amount for funds and for opening companies with a view to job creation increased from 350 thousand to 500 thousand euros.
On October 30, new immigration rules came into force, which facilitate the entry of certain groups of citizens. Among these, digital nomads, who are now granted a temporary stay visa. Those from Portuguese-speaking countries also have simplified access to a residence permit.