LISBON – The authorities in Portugal have announced that applications for its much sought after Golden Visa scheme made after February 16 will be frozen.
The deadline sent a thunderbolt through the investment world as wealthy foreigners used the Golden Visa scheme as a quick route to settle in the country.
Commenting on the suspension of the visa scheme, Portuguese Association of Residental Tourism and Resorts (APR) said that the move could could lead to the suspension of investments of over €600 million.
Although rumours swirled around regarding the visa scheme but Ministry of Housing of Portugal also confirmed that requests after February 16 would not be considered valid.
Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, also branded as Residence Permit for Investment (ARI), allowed wealthy foreigners to secure residency in the country if they made a significant financial contribution; however, when it opened the doors to unlawful affairs, authorities decided to scrap the scheme altogether.
Portugal becomes second country after Ireland to do away with the Golden Visa scheme despite the fact that Portugal saw a total of 41.9 per cent increase in investments through this programme last year.
The Golden Visa scheme attracted 6.8 billion euros in investment since its launch in 2012 but the domestic market seems to have changed the minds of decision makers.
Some say that the scheme was ended due to surge in the prices of real estate and housing rents which made it difficult for locals to secure any place. Portugal is now envisioning a mechanism to regulate rent increases and will offer tax incentives to landlords who convert tourism properties into houses for locals to rent.
Meanwhile, authorities in EU countries have repeatedly pressed all European countries that offer Golden Visas to suspend the programme.