In its Friday session, the Portuguese Parliament rejected proposals from parties Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda), PCP (the Portuguese Communist Party), and PAN (People, Animals, Nature) to end the country’s highly popular golden visa program.
Parliament also rejected a proposal from right-wing party Chega (“Enough”) to widen the program’s scope by introducing a EUR 250,000 capital transfer option (the current capital transfer option applies a minimum of EUR 1 million) to be “applied toward investment in companies in the agriculture, research and development, tourism or environment.”
MP Pedro Anastácio of Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party – which occupies 120 of the national assembly’s 230 seats, giving it the parliamentary heft necessary to unilaterally pass legislation – indicated last year’s legislative changes to the golden visa (which took effect on January 1st) had been adequate and that no further program amendments were necessary at this juncture.
“The last legal changes made to the regime,” said Anastácio, “responded adequately to the housing dimension, allowing to safeguard and maintain the regime’s dimension”. He characterized last year’s amendments as representing “something that is also important and fundamental for the country, which is the promotion of productive investment, job creation, investment in urban requalification, cultural heritage and in activities of high environmental or social value.”
Leftist party MPs lamented the rejection of proposals to end the golden visa, characterizing the program as “immoral” and arguing that residency “should not be commercialized.”
Parliament did adopt one proposal, however: A proposal from the Social Democrats to urgently articulate regulation necessary to allow the SEF’s online portal to once more accept new golden visa applications. For the first six months of this year, Portuguese golden visa advisors were unable to submit new applications on behalf of their clients because the SEF’s portal had not been updated to reflect the program’s changes. A notice on the portal said the opening to new submissions was unavailable pending new regulations.
That situation was resolved earlier this week following a statement from the Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers that indicate the law in question did not need to regulation and could be “directly applicable”.
While new golden visa applications may now be submitted again, complications remain for those needing to renew their golden visas as the SEF has not accepted renewal appointments, a matter that appears to remain unresolved.
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.