NEW INVESTMENT ROUTES MAKE PORTUGAL’S GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE AND INVESTMENT FRIENDLY
The Government of Portugal announced new investment routes following the Canada’s decision to close its doors to would be investors by scrapping their Citizenship by Investment program. With uncertainty over the USA’s EB5 program and the UK tightening its own program requirements, Portugal moved quickly to attract potential investors looking for alternative European programs. Already reaping the benefits of the Golden Visa Program, which so far has brought in EUR1, 4 billion, Portugal is quite confident that the success of the program will continue under the newly expanded investment routes attracting even more international investors from diverse backgrounds.
It is worth mentioning that even before the new additions were announced, the success of the Golden Residence Permit Program was commented on by the SEF (Immigration and Borders Service). The organisation stated that 2,465 residence permits were issued between October 2012 and August 2015; roughly two permits a day. Within these figures, 90% of investors opted for a real estate route, only 130 transferred capital and 3 created 10 jobs each, making the real estate route the very much preferred investment. However, and not surprisingly, the property prices are still much undervalued when compared to other European capitals, including a healthy amount of property to invest in and an already established rental market.
Interestingly, the nationalities of investors also expanded from the stereotypical Russian, Chinese and Gulf region investors to South Africans, Lebanese and Brazilians who portray Portugal as the perfect golden gateway to Europe. The country’s geographical location, its temperate climate, good education system and a vibrant lifestyle, together with its vicinity to Europe’s Schengen zone make Portugal particularly attractive to non-EU buyers.
Therefore, budget conscientious non-EU investors can now not only invest into real estate in need of restoration at a minimum EUR350,000 (including restoration costs), but they can also invest EUR250,000 into the National Heritage Project or Artistic Production fund. Wealthier investors, or those not interested in the Portuguese real estate market, can transfer capital of EUR1 million into Portuguese banks. Expanded options include the investment of EUR500, 000 into a fund set up for Capitalization of Small and Medium Enterprises or EUR350, 000 into a fund created for Research Activities of The National Scientific and Technological System.
Portugal desires to maintain steady investment and hopes that the new investment routes will significantly increase investors’ interest and will continue to show evidence of the success of the program overall. Portugal is confident of both its approach to a new wave of potential investments and in knowing that the Golden Visa has the lowest qualifying criteria out of the current European programs. Low residency requirement (seven days in the first year), quick processing times and more relaxed rules for bringing in spouses or dependents make the Portuguese Golden Visa highly desired