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3 Nov, 2022 20:23

Portugal considers dropping ‘golden visas’

The scheme to attract wealthy investors has “probably” already fulfilled its purpose, the Portuguese PM says
Portugal considers dropping ‘golden visas’

Portugal might end its “golden visa” scheme, which provides residence permits in exchange for investment, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has announced. The scheme, which has been running since 2012, may have already “fulfilled its function,” the PM told the Web Summit on Wednesday.

“There are programs that we are currently reevaluating and one of them is the golden visa program, which has probably already fulfilled its function and for which there might at this point no longer be any justification for maintaining it,” Costa stated.

There are more than 60 programs for obtaining citizenship or residence permits around the globe, with such schemes repeatedly coming under fire over fears they may be exploited to facilitate corruption. In Portugal’s case, the “golden visa” program gives wealthy investors the ability to travel across the whole of the EU.

To get Portuguese residency, one has to invest over €280,000 in real estate, or at least €250,000 in the arts. Once a person has residence, they only need to spend seven days a year in the country to maintain the right to travel freely across the whole bloc.

The “golden visa” and “golden passport” schemes run by several EU member states came under renewed scrutiny earlier this year amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Portugal banned Russian citizens from getting “golden visas” soon after the conflict began, with more than 430 wealthy Russians having obtained them over the past decade.

Greece, the Czech Republic, and Malta also suspended their programs after the conflict broke out, with Athens ultimately doubling the investment limit needed to obtain the “golden visa.”