The golden visa offered by the Portuguese government for select foreign nationals to invest and become a part of the EU family has been hugely popular and also quite successful in bringing in capital. In fact, it has been a money spinner for the government. However, it has raised certain questions regarding its intended purpose because the property values in select cities like – Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve have gone up considerably in the last few years. The housing prices in the prime destinations mentioned above have been driven up and added to the woes of the middle and low income families.
The government who were mulling certain changes to the Golden Visa program in the recent past have finally made it clear as to what they want to do going further. The most important thing is that the existing rules and requirements will still apply till the end of year 2021. Hence, now will be a great time for those seeking to obtain the coveted Golden Visa as the new rules and regulations will kick in on Jan 1st, 2022. The government had initially thought about a “transition period” starting July 1st, 2021 when changes could take effect over a period of a few months from July to December of 2021. But the recent announcement by the government makes it very clear that they want to start with a clean slate on Jan 1st, 2022.
The main proposed changes:
There are two main proposed changes which the government will set in motion by the end of this year and the beginning of the next year. The first change is the increase in the minimum investment requirements for a number of categories. The second change is the delineation of the geographical areas where investments in property may lead to an approval in obtaining the Golden Visa.
Other important aspects of the changes in the amendments:
- Initial Investment/ Deposit of capital category: the current minimum investment requirement of EUR 1 million will rise to EUR 1.5 million.
- Investment Fund Category: the current minimum investment requirement of EUR 350,000 will rise to EUR 500,000
- Investment in property category: the minimum investment requirement of EUR 500,000 will remain the same. It also applies to renovation properties for which a minimum investment requirement is EUR 350,000. But the biggest change in trying to obtain a Golden Visa through this route will become limited as the properties being sought after will need to be located in the country’s interior as well as the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.
- Jobs and Employment creation category: the current minimum investment of EUR 350,000 will rise to EUR 500,000 with regards to capital infusion in an existing company and/ or for the purpose of incorporation. The ultimate purpose of this exercise is to create at least five new jobs which should then sustain for a period of at least three years.
- Science and Research Activities category: the current minimum investment requirement of EUR 350,000 will rise to 500,000. Basically, this category deals with areas of scientific investigation.
Certain things to keep in mind – the possibility to buy habitational properties in the most sought-after destinations or locations in Portugal may be removed by Jan 1st, 2022 but commercial purchases are still possible. The new laws will have no restrictions on those investors interested in purchasing commercial property. Examples of commercial properties are: offices, retail, commercial and tourist apartments. These investments can happen in areas like Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve which happen to be the most sought after destinations in all of Portugal.
Jan 1st, 2022 is still months away and there is still time for many people to take advantage of the current Golden Visa program laws. People should do this before the new alterations kick in along with a massive change in the laws as well as the increase in money required for investment.
Due to the developing nature of this story, we will be updating it as more information becomes available.
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