The Portuguese government has recently submitted a surprising proposal to amend the housing bill, which initially aimed to end the Golden Visa program. The proposal, presented by the governing Socialist Party (PS), seeks to eliminate only two investment options from the program while retaining others. This unexpected turn of events has raised questions about the future of the Golden Visa program in Portugal. In this article, we will delve into the proposed amendments, analyze the implications for investors, and explore the opinions of experts in the field.
The Proposed Amendments
The proposed amendments put forward by the Socialist Party aim to remove real estate investments of any kind and the capital transfer bank deposit option from the Golden Visa program. However, the following investment options are set to be retained:
- Creation of at least 10 jobs: This option allows investors to obtain a Golden Visa by creating a minimum of 10 job positions within the country.
- Scientific research contribution: With a minimum contribution of EUR 500,000 to scientific research, investors can still qualify for the Golden Visa.
- Cultural heritage/artistic production: This option requires a minimum investment of EUR 250,000 in cultural heritage or artistic production projects.
- Venture capital/Investment funds: Investing at least EUR 500,000 in venture capital or investment funds remains as a viable pathway to obtain a Golden Visa.
- Business investment: Investors can qualify for the Golden Visa by making a business investment that creates or maintains at least five jobs.
These proposals come as a surprise, considering that the Socialist Party was initially responsible for formulating the More Housing bill, which aimed to terminate the Golden Visa program entirely. The retroactive effect on already-approved investors, as proposed in the initial bill, faced criticism for being potentially unconstitutional. The government later yielded on this point, leading to further speculation about the fate of the program.
Madalena Monteiro, a specialist in Golden Visa matters at Magwind, commented on the proposed amendments, noting their high likelihood of being reflected in the law due to the Socialist Party’s absolute majority in Parliament. She also highlighted that the proposal includes the retention of the 20% discount for investments made in low-density territories. Monteiro further pointed out that the proposal seemed hastily put together, with spelling errors and certain elements that appeared inconsistent with the overall changes.
Vanessa Rodrigues Lima, representing the Portuguese Association of Immigration, Investment, and Relocation (PAIIR), emphasized that a discussion period will follow before Parliament votes on the final wording of the bill on July 19th. The outcome of this vote will determine the future of the Golden Visa program in Portugal.
Implications for Investors
The proposed amendments, if implemented, will significantly impact investors who have been considering the Golden Visa program as a means of obtaining residency or citizenship in Portugal. The exclusion of real estate investments and capital transfer bank deposits as options might prompt investors to explore alternative avenues for obtaining a Golden Visa. However, the retention of other investment options provides some reassurance for those interested in the program.
Conversion to D2 Visas
One aspect of the proposal that has raised eyebrows is the mention of the conversion to D2 visas. It is unclear whether this inclusion was intentional, as it seems incongruous with the spirit of the proposed changes. Experts like Madalena Monteiro speculate that it may have been an oversight during the drafting process.
Transition Period and Effective Date
Another important consideration for prospective investors is the absence of a stipulated transition period in the proposal. If the amendments are approved, the new law is likely to take effect in early August. Investors should take this timeline into account when planning their investment strategies.
The proposed amendments to the Golden Visa program in Portugal have sparked intrigue and uncertainty among investors and industry experts. The unexpected retention of certain investment options, despite the initial aim to terminate the program, has left many wondering about the government’s true intentions. Investors should closely monitor the developments surrounding the proposed changes and consult with professionals in the field to make informed decisions. The final vote on July 19th will serve as a crucial milestone in determining the future of the Golden Visa program in Portugal.