EuropePolicy Updates

Spanish Govt. to “Start The Procedure to Eliminate” Golden Visa Program

El País reports that, during a visit to a suburb of Seville today, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said, “I want to announce that the Council of Ministers tomorrow will study a report submitted by the Minister of Housing and Urban Agenda to modify the law, approved by the PP [Partido Popular] in 2013, which allows you to obtain a residence visa if you invest in housing in our country.” 

The PM signaled that his administration would “start the procedure to eliminate the granting of the so-called golden visa, which allows access to the residence regime when more than half a million euros are invested in real estate. We are going to take the necessary measures to guarantee that housing is a right and not a mere speculative business.”

He further divulged that some 94% of all investment-based residence permits issued pertained to real estate and were heavily concentrated in popular tourist destinations like Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Málaga, Alicante, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca.

Those cities, he said, “are facing a highly stressed housing market, where it is almost impossible to find decent housing for those who live and work in them and pay their taxes every day. That is not the country model we need, that of speculative investment in housing, because it is a model that leads us to disaster and, above all, leads us to painful inequality as a consequence of the inaccessibility of many young people and families to housing.”

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The Sánchez administration has the stated aim of “guaranteeing affordable housing […] so that no citizen has to allocate more than 30% of their income to having a home.”

While Spain stopped publishing detailed statistics on its golden visa program some two years ago, the most recent figures indicate Spain had approved nearly 11,500 by the end of 2022, 94% of which were real estate-related.

Krista Victorio of Barcelona-based investment migration advisory Orience emphasizes that Sánchez has only said he would take “measures” to eliminate the program and that we don’t yet know whether he will seek to scrap the program as a whole or only the real estate investment category.

She points out that legislative changes usually take 6 to 12 ten months in Spain and highlights that “the recently established Ley de Vivienda took five years from its initial introduction in Congress before it finally became law.”

Sánchez heads a minority government and will rely on the support of a number of small parties to pass new legislation.

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