21st of August update on the Golden Visa Programme in Portugal
On August 21st, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, announced his veto of the new Housing Bill that aims to end the Portugal Golden Visa claiming the new strategy will not stop the growing real estate speculation and high rents in the country. His decision led to the return of the proposal to Parliament for a fresh round of revisions and a new vote in the House plenary. Marcelo exercised his veto authority to express his dissatisfaction with the bill (Pacote Mais Habitação) put forth by Prime Minister António Costa and his team of Ministers on May 19th, 2023.
In his veto statement, Marcelo was absolute in his stance against the Housing Bill, standing by his first position when the proposal was made public. "On March 9th, I gave my opinion on the risks of an overly optimistic speech, of setting up high expectations for the deadline, the means and the administrative staff available and, therefore, of possible unrealistic projected results”, the president explained in his veto. He continues by saying that “In simpler terms, it is not easy to see where the promised housing supply will come from effectively and quickly”.
The proposed Housing Bill, known as "Mais Habitação", introduced numerous amendments to the existing Portuguese law, which intended to address the current issues of rising inflation and increasing rents and real estate costs. Additionally, the proposal marked the ending of the Golden Visa Programme in the country, which had been in effect since 2012. The decision to end the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme was controversial since it stands as one of Europe's most successful Residence-by-Investment initiatives and has contributed nearly 7 billion euros to the country's economy since its inception. Over this period, it has granted more than 11,000 visas to investors from various nationalities.
Portugal Homes, a company specialised in the Portuguese Golden Visa, took an in-depth looking at the 2023 programme changes and can confirm that all foreign investors are eligible to apply for the visa as normal. Until the change in the law is approved and published in the Gazette, the Golden Visa in Portugal will still accept new applicants.
To understand the complete timeline of the Golden Visa in Portugal, we invite you to read our detailed article below.
19th of May update on the Golden Visa Programme in Portugal
On May 19th, the Portuguese Parliament approved in a Plenary session the “Mais Habitação” pack, the Housing Bill that has been making headlines for the last few months. The proposal was approved by a majority of deputies but not of parties (only the Socialist Party voted in favour of the Bill), leaving it up to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to approve, ask for clarifications, or veto Draft Law No. 71/XV/1st.
This pack will represent a great number of changes in Portuguese constitutional Law, especially regarding the Housing Crisis and the Portugal Golden Visa. The new law approved intends to put an end to the Residence-by-Investment programme, according to Article 44 “New applications for the granting of residence permits for investment activities, as provided in Article 90-A of Law No. 23/2007, dated July 4th, are not accepted from the date of the entry into force of this law”, meaning that new applications will not be accepted under the Golden Visa Programme.
Draft Law No. 71/XV/1st also informs that new applicants can still submit their applications since the law will only be in effect after being published in the Gazette (the official Portuguese Government publication - Diário da República). Paragraph 2, from the same article, informs: “The provisions of the previous paragraph do not harm the possibility of renewing residence permits for investment activities, when these permits have been granted under the applicable legal regime until the date of the entry into force of this law”.
On this topic, David Poston, CEO & Co-Founder at Portugal Homes, addressed the housing bill approval today.
"The Portuguese Parliament approved today at the Plenary session the new housing bill (Mais Habitação) putting an end to the Golden Visa Programme in the country. Although the decision is made, new applications are still open at the moment. This is because the Parliamentary committee still needs to review the bill before the proposition is sent to the President of Portugal for its ratification.
Once President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa received it, he will have a period of eight days to give his consideration, which can be a veto, clarifications on the bill, or the final approval. What this means from a Golden Visa perspective; currently the Programme is still running and operational and only after this bill is fully approved, and once presented in the Gazette, it will become effective. If the President decides to veto the proposition, then you will have some months in the process – the bill will be sent back to the Parliament for final approval or rejection.
Currently, if you are an investor already in the process of obtaining a Golden Visa, you should not worry – you are eligible. Like I said before, if you are ready to move on with your application, the time to act is now. Contact one of our advisors and let us help you to find the best opportunities for you to proceed with your Golden Visa application."
“Mais Habitação” Timeline
On the 16th of February, the Portuguese Executive Government announced in the news the pack “Mais Habitação”, a proposition to stop the growing real estate speculation and high rents in the country. Along the topics presented in the initial document was the end of the Golden Visa Programme.
The statement by the Prime Minister of Portugal, claiming the end of the programme still in February, did not take into consideration the importance of the income generated by the Golden Visa to the economy, nor all the legal aspects of the Portuguese Constitution – since the legal process needs to be respected fully, with the vote in the Parliament Plenary Session, and the President ratification.
From February 20th to March 24th public discussion took part on the housing bill, making the government pull back on its affirmation of the end of the Golden Visa Programme would happen already in February (retroactivity of the law). On the 14th of April, days after the public discussion ended, the government rectified the housing bill with a new proposition being presented stating that the programme would be still accepting new applications until the law is in effect.
Currently, all non-European citizens are eligible to apply for the Golden Visa Programme through real estate by purchasing a residential, commercial or tourist property in certain areas of Portugal. If you have any questions regarding the information provided above, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members who will be glad to assist you.
If you have any questions regarding the information provided above, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members who will be glad to assist you. Additionally, the Portugal Homes representative held an open question and answer session on May 2nd. If you wish to speak to an advisor personally and have your questions answered in more detail, please get in touch.
Previous news on the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme:
This is not the first time the Golden Visa has appeared in the press's headlines. In January 2022 the programme was changed to allow several new rules, including the prohibition of the real estate purchasing of residential properties in big cities, such as Lisbon and Porto.
In November 2022 the Golden Visa again got involved in political discussions, when Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa announced the end of the programme at Web Summit. A month later, the Portuguese Parliament denied, in an internal vote, the end of the programme. In 2023, despite the announcement made on 16th February, the Portugal Golden Visa Programme remains active and available to non-EU citizens looking to obtain future property investments in Portugal.
The Portugal Golden Visa Programme officially celebrated 10 years in October 2022, bringing over 7.2 billion euros of investment revenue according to official data provided by SEF. To be exact €7 214 705 902,98 were invested from October 2012 to July 2023, with 12 497 Residence Permits issued to investors, while 20 169 residence permits were granted to adjoining family members.
For more in-depth statistics, please view our extended article HERE!
What is the Portugal Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa is an EU residency programme for non-EU nationals who have made a significant investment in Portugal, eligible investments must be in real estate, by making a capital investment, or by creating employment opportunities.
What Are the Advantages of the Portugal Golden Visa?
Applicants of the Portugal Golden Visa will be eligible to live, work and study in Portugal, which allows low physical presence requirement from the golden visa investor with eligibility to travel freely within the Schengen* area and hold the ability to apply for a Portuguese passport after 5 years.
*Schengen area consists of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Which Locations in Portugal Work Best for the Portugal Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa programme is eligible in Portugal, categorized into high and low population density; the high-density locations are primarily coastal regions, while low density will be the interior region of the country. Now, for those investors looking to obtain property investment in prime locations of Portugal such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, the eligible Portugal Golden Visa properties will require commercial or touristic property licensing. Taking this into account, Portugal Homes has been dedicated to adhering to newly implemented regulations as of January 2022 and developed a real estate portfolio exclusively for Portugal Golden Visa Programme in the most desired locations for property investment in Portugal: Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve.
Our CEO and managing director, David Poston is addressing the topic in detail, providing concrete and current information on the continuous and onward implementation of the Portugal Golden Visa Programme. See the full article here: “The End of the Portugal Golden Visa”.
Q&A with David Poston, CEO of Portugal Homes, part of Harland & Poston Group
Q: What is the Golden Visa Programme?
A: “The Golden Visa Programme is essentially a programme that allows you freedom of movement within the European Union. Ultimately, how it works, there are lots of different options, but the most popular one is usually an investment in real estate for an amount somewhere between €280,000 and €500,000.
And from off the back of that investment, you're allowed to live and work in Portugal, travel freely within the EU and ultimately get citizenship in Portugal. After five years of keeping the investments and spending time in Portugal over the last few years, there's been quite a lot of changes to the programme regarding the amount of money that you need to invest, where you can invest and what kind of property that you can invest into.”
Q: Has the Portugal Golden Visa Programme Changed? And How Long Do I Need to Stay in Portugal?
A: “The programme itself hasn't changed too much in that regard; you still need to spend an average of seven days in Portugal per year. You can still live and work here freely, and you can still get citizenship at the end of the five years. The important part is really to understand what you need to invest in and the amount of money that you need to invest.
We did a video earlier this year detailing just exactly how the visa program works and the different levels of investment. So, feel free to have a look at that, and it goes into much more depth in terms of how the programme works, and our website, we detail all the steps that you need to do have gone to Lisbon, Portugal, and what the requirements are.”
Learn more about the Portugal Golden Visa eligible property regions & types, and changes implemented as of January 2022, in this article.
Q: Is the Portugal Golden Visa Ending?
A: “So the reason that I've been asked to talk to you today is Mr. António Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, made some comments on the second in November at the Web Summit here in Portugal, regarding the Golden Visa Programme and potential changes or the potential end to the program.
One thing that I can confirm is that they voted in Parliament recently since the second of November, and there's not going to be any changes to the Golden Visa Programme, certainly not anytime soon and hopefully not even over the next 12 months.” Update: some following actions were just taken recently by the Portuguese Executive Government and the Residential Golden Visa may not be applicable any longer, although this decision still needs to pass through the Parliament; see the latest update covered above.
Q: How Has Portugal Benefited from the Portugal Golden Visa?
A: “I think it's important to understand the Golden Visa over the last ten years and the revenue that is brought into the country to also understand why the government does not really have any intentions to stop it. Over the last ten years, it's brought around €6 billion of investment into the country, which also results in around about €80 million per year in taxes, which is vital income for the country and for the economy.”
Q: Is the Portugal Golden Visa the Main Culprit Behind the Increase in Rental Prices?
A: “The reality is property prices are shooting up in Lisbon, and this has more to do with the tourism industry than the Golden Visa. Lisbon's gone from 6 million tourists a year over the last ten years to 13.8 million. The airport has a capacity of 20 million, and I think it's taking in around 26 million passengers a year. Portugal has become a popular place to be!
It's a very small city, and when you have such an increase in tourism, rents are going to increase, and people want to do short-term rentals rather than long-term because it generates a lot more income for them. So, you know, the big issue here is trying to understand how they can help local people whilst also not affecting the tourism industry, which is around 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) here. The Golden Visa is an easy scapegoat for many political discussions, which gives good traction, makes good press, and it's very easy to talk about! And a lot of people like to write about it, but ultimately, it's great for the country, brings in a lot of much-needed income, and a lot of high-net-worth individuals into Portugal.”
Moving forward, if you are looking to invest in the Portugal Golden Visa Programme, we have a team at Portugal Homes with a wealth of experience that can help and guide you through all the different processes and everything that you need to make your investment a success.