Portuguese Government Launches New Immigration Plan – Golden Visa Back in Discussions

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Published on 04 June, 2024 • Last updated on 04 June, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Portuguese Government Launches New Immigration Plan – Golden Visa Back in Discussions

On Monday afternoon, the 3rd of June, the Portuguese Government announced new policies dedicated to solving the immigration situation in Portugal. According to the new migration plan, presented this Monday at Nova SBE, in Carcavelos, Lisbon, the Government will create a Golden Visa option that will aim to strengthen the equipment and projects that support vulnerable immigrants.

New Migration Plan Comes After Election Promises on Immigration

Following its government project indicated during the Portuguese election in February this year, the recently elected Portuguese Government finally announced the pack, which will address immigration to the country. Currently, Portugal is one of the main expat destinations in the world and has reach recently the amount of 1 million foreigners living in its territory, representing 10% of the population - according to Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas (INE – Statistics Portugal) - with 10,4 million people living in the country in 2022.  

The increase in foreign population in the past 10 years reflects the country’s growing attractiveness, whether for investment, for establishing a second residency or both. The low cost of living, which contrasts against Europe’s other main capitals, is another main attraction point, especially for investors and digital nomads seeking a lifestyle upgrade.

AIMA Struggles with Long Lines and an Inoperative System

The announcement comes after a series of problems reported last month by the Portuguese press, especially related to the Agência para an Integração, Migrações e Asilo (AIMA), the Portuguese Immigration agency. The headlines brought to public attention that AIMA has more than 400 thousand pending cases, making the lives of immigrants more difficult in Portugal. Even with the recent boost on the AIMA frontline, set by the government in March, the agency has struggled with the massive workload inherited from SEF. According to the document released by the government during the announcement of the migration plan, this difficulty faced by AIMA is one of the reasons why immigration needs to be regulated. The document informs that the new plan released aims to fix problems such as the "Operational incapacity of AIMA, which has accumulated around 400 thousand pending issues and is unable to fulfil its role, including in terms of integration".

Portugal Golden Visa Back on the Headlines – What we know so far

In October 2023, the Portugal Golden Visa Real Estate investments option was discontinued, only leaving certain options available: donations on Arts and Science, and the investments into Financial Funds.

With this change, the Golden Visa in Portugal decreased drastically its appeal to international Investors. Before the changes, as reported by SEF (the previous Immigration Agency), the Golden Visa conceded 12 718 Residency authorisations and has brought €6.4 billion to the Portuguese economy during its more than 10 years of functionality (2012 – 2023) - only with the Real Estate option – and €7.3 billion when considering other investment options.

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However, on Monday’s announcement, the Portuguese government put forth a brand-new Golden Visa option for non-EU citizens interested in acquiring the Portuguese Residency. No further information about the new option was unveiled, although it has already been confirmed that the new Golden Visa option will be dedicated to helping immigrants in vulnerable situations.  

 The announcement was made by Prime Minister Luís Montenegro in a press communication. During the event, the Minister said that the government “understands that it is necessary to regulate immigration to give people dignity. Portugal cannot be, must not be, and will not be with its door closed to welcome those who are looking for an opportunity, who have the know-how, who have a desire, who often have what we need most. Portugal will not close the door to anyone who wants this opportunity.”

The newest Portugal Golden Visa option enables an alternative path for investors seeking Portuguese Residency and Citizenship. After 5 years of holding Temporary Residency with the Golden Visa, investors are able apply for the Portuguese Nationality. The option for the new Golden Visa is available in the official document released by the government, at the document’s Measure 32.

By now, the released document is very superficial and does not cover all topics on this new option. At its description, the new Golden Visa option intends to create an instrument to channel private capital for social investment in immigrant integration projects. However, it is not specified how those projects will be approved, and if the Real Estate option will be again available - although paragraph B explains that "housing" will be again available.

The document is divided into 3 parts, presenting the new Golden Visa option as:

a) A Residency Permit for Social Investment – a change compared to the scope of Residency Permits for Investment (ARI), to include investments made in reception equipment and infrastructure, integration, and support projects for immigrants in vulnerable situations;  

b) Possible system of intermediation and accreditation of social investment, namely through FAMI. This extension of the ARI is in addition to the planned in “Construir Portugal” for investment in housing at controlled costs or affordable income;

c) Apply the Social Impact Bonds model to the area of migration to increase opportunities for integration into the labour market and working conditions reception, sharing the development of responses with investors and with the philanthropy sector.

See below the Portuguese Version:

a) Autorizações de Residência para Investimento Social – uma alteração face ao âmbito das Autorizações de Residência para Investimento (ARI), para incluir investimentos realizados em equipamentos e infraestruturas de acolhimento, projetos de integração e apoio à imigrantes em situação de vulnerabilidade;

b) Possível sistema de intermediação e acreditação do investimento social, designadamente através do FAMI. Esta extensão dos ARI acresce àquela prevista no “Construir Portugal” para o investimento em habitação a custos controlados ou renda acessível;  

c) Aplicar o modelo de Títulos de Impacto Social à área das migrações para aumentar as oportunidades de integração no mercado laboral e condições de acolhimento, partilhando o desenvolvimento das respostas com investidores e com o setor da filantropia.

Portugal Homes: Your Trustworthy Partner for Portuguese Golden Visa & Residency by Investment

With over 10 years of expertise in Portugal Golden Visa applications, the Portugal Homes team of experts has been a trusted partner for thousands of satisfied clients. With 100% successful Golden Visa applications, our mission is to provide the best-tailored services to our clients, including fresh news and follow-up on Portuguese laws and political situations.  

This distinctive service sets Portugal Homes apart from other Real Estate and Investment companies in Portugal. For further information about how to start your process on the Portuguese Golden Visa, or the Portuguese D2 Visa - another option for Investors seeking Portuguese Residency - seeking the Portuguese, feel free to reach out to one of our advisors. Our advisors will help you with all your questions in complimentary meetings until you are ready to take the first step.

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