Investors eye Portuguese golden visas as authorities ponder programme’s end

Must read

Joe Biden pays tribute to victims of California mass shootings: ‘As a nation, we have to be there for them’

 President Joe Biden led a moment of silence at the White House on Thursday in honor of the victims of separate shootings that killed 11 people...

FDA pushes to make COVID-19 vaccinations easier. At the top of the list: One annual booster instead of two

The U.S. is poised to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like a yearly flu shot, a major shift in strategy despite a long list of...

Hasbro to cut 1,000 jobs as the pandemic-era toy-buying boom cools now that kids are back in school

Hasbro, one of the world’s largest toymakers, said it would cut 15% of its workforce, or about 1,000 jobs, after a disappointing holiday shopping...

A chemical plant’s polluting poisoned a generation of children in a small town. The settlement that the state just made has residents up in...

In hindsight, it’s clear that something was very wrong in this suburban town at the Jersey Shore, where many people worked at or lived...

Investors eye Portuguese golden visas as authorities ponder programme's end © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A tourist rests at Comercio square in downtown Lisbon, Portugal April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

By Catarina Demony

LISBON (Reuters) – Investments through Portugal’s “golden visa”, which gives wealthy foreigners residence rights, jumped nearly 50% last month, data showed on Sunday, as the government considers whether to scrap the controversial scheme.

The golden visa has been heavily criticised at home for sending house prices and rents up, and the European Commission has called for the end of such national programmes.

In Portugal, it has attracted 6.6 billion euros ($6.95 billion) in investment over the past decade, mainly from China, Brazil and Turkey, with the bulk of the money going into real estate.

To apply, non-EU nationals must make a significant investment in Portugal, such as buying real estate. They are then given residency rights and are allowed visa-free travel throughout Europe’s Schengen area.

But Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Nov. 2 his government was going to evaluate the 10-year-old scheme, questioning whether the programme could still be justified.

Murat Coskun, Get Golden Visa (NYSE:) CEO, said Costa’s comments had had a “significant impact on the appetite” for the measure, with his company seeing a five-fold increase in inquiries.

Data from border agency SEF on Sunday showed investment through golden visas increased 48% in November from October to 65 million euros, and was up 41% from a year earlier.

Vasco Silva, the CEO of Kleya, which helps foreigners move to Portugal, said his company had received many queries about what was going on, adding that some investors had rushed their decision just incase the programme was altered or binned.

“If there is no residence by investment programme, (investors) will simply ignore the country,” Silva warned, arguing the more than 10,000 visas issued since 2012 had put Portugal “on the map”.

The Portuguese branch of anti-corruption group Transparency International (TI) has said the programme could be used for money laundering, while the European Commission has said it considers such schemes a potential security risk.

Silva said that was not the case because those involved in the process, from banks to lawyers, had to comply with “very strict rules”.

“We are not allowing entrance to criminals or money for which we do not know the source,” Silva said. “Exceptions can happen but it will be one in 10,000 or two in 10,000 and of course those are the ones that go public.”

Britain scrapped golden visas in February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine amid concerns about the inflow of illicit Russian money. Portugal suspended golden visas for Russians, but 431 had already benefited from the scheme since the time of its launch, according to SEF.

($1 = 0.9497 euros)

More articles

Latest article

Joe Biden pays tribute to victims of California mass shootings: ‘As a nation, we have to be there for them’

 President Joe Biden led a moment of silence at the White House on Thursday in honor of the victims of separate shootings that killed 11 people...

FDA pushes to make COVID-19 vaccinations easier. At the top of the list: One annual booster instead of two

The U.S. is poised to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like a yearly flu shot, a major shift in strategy despite a long list of...

Hasbro to cut 1,000 jobs as the pandemic-era toy-buying boom cools now that kids are back in school

Hasbro, one of the world’s largest toymakers, said it would cut 15% of its workforce, or about 1,000 jobs, after a disappointing holiday shopping...

A chemical plant’s polluting poisoned a generation of children in a small town. The settlement that the state just made has residents up in...

In hindsight, it’s clear that something was very wrong in this suburban town at the Jersey Shore, where many people worked at or lived...

Health effects of cannabis products are too uncertain for regulating the fast-growing market like food or supplements, FDA says

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the...