Chinese investors dominated the Portuguese golden visa during the early years before falling to a record-low in 2020. In 2021, they are returning in force.
Between the program’s opening in 2012 and the end of 2016, Chinese applicants accounted for an absolute majority of golden visas in Portugal, reaching a peak of 81% of the total in 2014 and dropping every year since then. In 2020, only one in four investors came from China. The first quarter of this year, however, has witnessed a significant rebound; 44% of approved applicants so far in 2021 were from China.
The SEF approved 81 new main applicants and 117 of their family members in March, a slight decline from the 100 main applicants approved in February but a notable improvement on the 55 approvals recorded during the same month last year.
The five biggest sources of golden visa investment during the month were
- Chinese (31 main applicant approvals)
- Brazilians (6)
- Americans (6)
- Turks (5)
- Russians (4)
Americans, notably, have featured in the top five during each of the last nine monthly reports, with the exception of December, and are quickly becoming a regular fixture on that list.
The program saw capital inflows amounting to nearly EUR 40 million in March, down from EUR 52 million in February. About two-thirds of that FDI came in through the Subparagraph 3 option (EUR 500,000 real estate), while the EUR 350,000 property option accounted for some 23% of investments made during the month. Six investors picked the Fund Investment option, which nearly 8% of investors have picked in 2021, double the rate seen in 2020. Total investment in the program so far this year amounts to EUR 125 million.
Overall, the “alternative” investment options continue their relative growth compared to the conventional EUR 500,000 real estate option; 34% of investors have picked alternative routes so far in 2021.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.