Portugal Golden Visa updates: 21 August 2023
The honorable President of Portugal vetoed the proposed ‘More Housing’ bill today, and sent it back to the Parliament without promulgating it into a law. In his Excellency’s letter addressed to the Parliament, the President writes that while the parliamentary majority could potentially approve the decree once again in the coming weeks, it is important to express a genuine conviction and a measured negative analysis. A copy of the press release and the letter can be seen here.
When the bill returns to the Parliament, there are potentially two outcomes. There could be further debates and legislative changes to the proposed law that was originally approved by the Parliament on 19th July 2023, or given the majority of the ruling party in the Parliament, the bill could still be approved without changes. Either way, today’s development ensures few more weeks for the Parliamentary process and President’s approval to conclude.
Portugal Golden Visa news: 20 June 2023
In a surprising turn of events, the Portuguese Government has significantly stepped down on its earlier announcements in relation to the Portugal Golden Visa laws. As per the amendments proposed on 20th June, the golden visa would not be discontinued, but rather only modified to leave out direct real estate investment.
This means that, should the proposed amendments become the final law, investors would be able to invest in other options and continue to apply for the Golden Visa. Investors are expected to have the following options to choose from:
1. Investment in a Golden Visa fund: minimum investment of EUR 500,000 with a holding period of at least 5 years
2. Job Creation: Creating at least 10 full time equivalent jobs
3. Capital transfer: Of at least EUR 500,000 for incorporating a commercial company or investment in an existing company such that it supports creation of at least 5 additional jobs
4. Cultural investment: Investment of at least EUR 250,000 in support of an architecture of national importance.
5. Scientific research: Investment of at least EUR 500,000
For passive investors, investment in a Golden Visa fund seems to be the most suited option, that can potentially deliver healthy returns along with a path to Portuguese citizenship. Read more about investment funds here.
15 April 2023
Portugal Golden Visa 2023: At My Golden Pass, we have reviewed the draft law of the ‘More Housing’ proposals that are to be presented to the Portuguese Parliament for debate and approval. We’re pleased to report that this draft law includes several crucial measures that aim to safeguard the rights of current Golden Visa holders and those who have already invested and are waiting for a decision from the Portuguese immigration authority.
Relevant snippets translated from the Portuguese Government’s draft law proposal on ‘More Housing’
Residence Permits for Investment Activity (more popularly known as the Portugal Golden Visa)
1. New applications for the granting of a residence permit are not accepted for investment activity, provided for in article 90.º-A of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4, from the date of entry into force of this law.
2. The provisions of the previous clause do not affect the possibility of renewing the residence permits for investment activity when these permits have been granted under the legal regime applicable up to the date of entry into force of this law.
3. The provisions of the previous number are equally applicable to the concession or renewal of residence permits for family reunification provided for in article 98 of the Law No. 23/2007, of July 4th.
4. In the cases foreseen in the previous numbers, the renewal determines the conversion of the residence permit in a residence permit for immigrants entrepreneurs, pursuant to paragraph 4 of article 89 of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4, in its current wording, and their holders must comply with the minimum period of permanence seven days, consecutive or interpolated, in the 1st year and fourteen days, consecutive or interpolated over subsequent two-year periods.
To conclude, the law states that no new applications will be accepted for this authorization from the date the law comes into effect. However, those who have already been granted this authorization can renew it. This also applies to family members seeking authorization for family reunification. This law emphasizes that the minimum stay requirement is seven consecutive or interpolated days in the first year and fourteen days in subsequent two-year periods.
In other words, it seems that for now, investors’ concerns about the retroactive application of the proposed amendment to the Golden Visa law can be put to rest. The proposed law doesn’t include a transition period, indicating that it will be enforced from the date of approval in the Parliament. This means that any investors who want to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa should act quickly within the next few weeks. Contact us today if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity!
On March 30th, 2023, the Prime Minister of Portugal announced measures that would significantly impact the Portugal Golden Visa program. These announcements have caused a stir among investors and legal experts alike. In this update, we will take a closer look at these measures, reactions from investors and legal experts, the President of Portugal’s response, and what may happen next.
Portugal Golden Visa related announcements
While the exact wording of the new law has not yet been released, the Prime Minister has made some statements that provide an insight into the direction that the program is headed.
Since the program’s inception in 2012, over 11,000 residence permits have been granted under the special regime for the Golden Visa. However, the government has found that 89% of the investments made under the program were in real estate, with only 22 permits leading to job creation. As a result, the Prime Minister has stated that the special regime for the Golden Visa is unjustified, and the program will be governed by the general law moving forward.
Individuals who have already been approved for Golden Visas and are due for renewal every two years will have their visas converted to immigrant entrepreneur permits. This will be subject to the meeting of all requirements, and after thorough evaluation by competent authorities to verify the progress of their entrepreneurial projects.
The new policy will also terminate the special regime for granting Golden Visas, while allowing the admissibility of residence permits for investment under the terms of the general regime. This means that new Golden Visas will no longer be granted as of 16th February 2023. For those who have pending applications, their applications will be processed under the residence permit regime for entrepreneurial immigrants.
Reaction of Golden Visa Investors and Legal Experts
According to legal experts, the proposed measures to terminate the Portugal Golden Visa program, are not only unconstitutional but also violate basic rights, due to retroactive application of the amended law. Such measures could lead to multiple litigation in Portuguese courts. As a result, stakeholders are coming together to represent their viewpoint in appropriate forums.
One such measure is a petition titled “For the defense of the image and reputation of Portugal with foreign investors”. If you are an existing Golden Visa investor, or if you have already invested and are awaiting a decision at the SEF, we urge you to read the petition and sign it if you agree.
Legal opinions by Jorge Miranda, Sérvulo Correia, and Rui Medeiros, as covered by Jornal de Negocios, have concluded that the end of the Golden Visa regime, with the prohibition of considering applications received after February 16, violates the principle of protection of trust. This decision could have far-reaching consequences and impact the image and reputation of Portugal with foreign investors.
Reaction of the President of Portugal to these measures
Although President Marcelo’s reaction to the Golden Visa linked announcements is not clear at this stage, the country’s head of State had remarked on the ‘Mais Habitação’ blueprint last month. As per Portugal Resident, the President called it a “poster law”, that was “unworkable”, “inoperable, from start to finish” and essentially an exercise in propaganda.
What Can Happen Next?
The proposal will now go through a voting process in the general session of the Parliament (expected in April 2023) and will be discussed by a separate commission, which will propose a final draft. The final version of the document will then return to the Parliament for general approval.
Once approved by the Parliament, the proposed amendment will be sent to the President of the Republic for final approval. The President can either directly ratify it, in which case the proposal will come into force on the date set forth in the proposal, or reject it and send it back to the Parliament for revision. Alternatively, the President can request its evaluation by the Constitutional Court.
If the current proposals become the law, it will be curtains for the special regime granting Golden Visas, and all residence permits will be governed by the general law. For those who have already been granted Golden Visas, their permits will be converted into permits for immigrant entrepreneurs subject to meeting all requirements and undergoing thorough evaluation by competent authorities. It could also mean that the Golden Visa investors are required to stay over 6 months in Portugal, as envisaged under the immigrant entrepreneur visa.
On the other hand, there is still a glimmer of hope that the relevant constitutional principles behind the Portuguese legislative regime will be upheld, and a transition period may be granted that safeguards ongoing processes and investments.
Can Investors Still Apply for Portugal Golden Visa?
Investors are still able to file in their applications for the Golden Visa during this phase. The SEF portal still remains open for investors to file their application.
Is the Portugal Golden Visa ending?
As per the reported amendments on 20th June 2023, the Golden Visa in Portugal is not ending in its entirety, but only undergoing some changes in terms of permitted investments. Also, the proposals would not apply retrospectively, which means that once your file has been submitted to immigration office for analysis, your rights should be protected.
Is it worth investing in real estate for Portugal Golden Visa now?
Investors may be able to negotiate with Developers, special conditions on their investment, such as asking the Developers to buy back the investment should the law be changed with immediate effect, prejudicing the golden visa application of the applicants.
Note: The views expressed are personal and should not be construed as legal advice regarding the Portugal Golden Visa program. Please use your own judgment and consult with an attorney before making an investment decision