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Smarter Investments and Quicker Route to Citizenship: Portugal’s Golden Visa Is Back on Top

Tejo Ventures

After 15 months of uncertainty, Portugal’s Golden Visa has emerged stronger than ever, with two considerable changes to the program making it the best in Europe.

The first change, removing any real estate-linked investment option, created a new-look Golden Visa. It ushers in an era in which investment funds, rather than real estate, emerge as the investment vehicle of choice due to their enhanced regulatory oversight, more generous tax treatment, and greater impact on Portugal’s socioeconomic landscape.

The second significant change came at the Naturalization Act level. The recent passing of the new Nationality Law that starts the clock ticking from the time of application, cutting 18 – 24 months off of the time commitment, puts Portugal’s program back on top.

What stands out is the advent of novel investment strategies by the funds, notably those designed to confer advantages on Portugal. Such approaches will likely challenge and gradually diminish perceptions that the programs fail to offer widespread benefits. 

The Problem With Real Estate – And The Solution

Portugal’s Golden Visa, similar to others in the region, had a hard time balancing the benefit of the program against the constant criticisms from public officials and the populace alike. 

Rent prices in Portugal increased by approximately 7% in 2023, the highest YoY jump in nearly three decades. Property prices also grew by nearly 6% (adjusted for inflation), and the population did not take kindly to the newfound financial strain.

Many government officials scurried to find a scapegoat, and the Golden Visa was an easy target. Blaming wealthy foreigners for the massive real estate bubble was easy, even if the Golden Visa did not move the needle in terms of all real estate sales in the country. 

This is a problem that Greece and Spain’s Golden Visas will face as well, but Portugal, in typical fashion, beat its EU counterparts to the punch and adapted its program to fit the overall narrative and, more importantly, the country’s intricate economic needs. 

For a residency by investment program to succeed, it needs an innovative, sustainable, and beneficial investment framework, and Portugal’s contemporary Golden Visa now offers a slew of exciting investment areas and practices that can benefit the country as well as the applicants. 

Among these innovative practices is prioritizing renewable energy investments, especially in solar infrastructure, which is especially noteworthy.

 This puts the Golden Visa on a whole new level regarding economic and communal benefits and aligns it with the global trend of intricate ESG development that is quickly becoming the cornerstone of successful economies. 

Atop the solar infrastructure investment options list is the Solar Future Fund, Tejo Ventures’ latest investment vehicle that aligns with the Portuguese Golden Visa’s newly defined objectives. 

An Overview Of The Solar Future Fund

Julian Johnson, managing partner at Tejo Ventures, is excited by the opportunity to direct foreign capital flows to initiatives that benefit the country as a whole, believing that investors benefit from a program that is viewed favourably by the populace and can be lauded by Government rather than scapegoated.  

His firm’s latest fund, Solar Future Fund, is investing in Portugal’s transition to a clean energy future, backing solar infrastructure developers at a project level, focusing on the energy-as-a-service niche, which his team believes offers the best risk-adjusted return profile for Golden Visa investors. 

“Our investors primarily seek capital preservation as they secure their ‘plan b’ for their families. Solar is the fastest-growing energy technology in history, and the transition to a clean future is our worlds most pressing opportunity. By investing post-licensing, across numerous developers, our strategy is heavily diversified for risk, produces a cash yield within 18 months and crucially, offers a clear exit strategy for investors post-completion of their visa process” 

Johnson went on to say, “we invest in solar projects in communities across the country, benefiting a much larger swathe of the population, creating impact locally from a cost-saving perspective, and contributing to Portugal’s 2030 decarbonization goals. This not only amplifies the narrative that the new Golden Visa program is a net benefit to the country but is also well-received by investors who appreciate being part of the solution and recognize that investing in Portugal for a secure future should also include investing in solving the climate crisis”.

A New Era Begins

Portugal was early to feel the negative backlash of the cost of the global housing crisis, and despite the data proving otherwise, had to deal with a disgruntled voter base assuming that the Golden Visa program was driving the unaffordability. 

Changing the rules has effectively removed this negative bias. With proper communication, the population will get behind a program that helps fund Portugal’s migration to a clean energy future, thereby securing the program and its investors.

 For investors, the chance to partake in this transition is an added benefit and should encourage more enthusiasm for the program. 

Sawyer Wildgen, a Tejo Investor, summarized the core value of the Solar Future Fund by stating: “I feel good that my money is benefiting Portugal and its people, and it makes total sense to me that if I’m investing to secure my future, I should be investing in securing the world against climate change,’. 

The sunsetting of the old Portugal Golden Visa heralds bright days ahead for the program, investors, and Portugal. 

To learn more about the Solar Future Fund and how to qualify for the Golden Visa through investing in it, contact us via our website or by emailing Julian Johnson directly.