After a successful decade of Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, the government has confirmed its termination. The scheme brought in billions of growth for the national economy, but the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, believes that no special regime justifies the golden visa. As of February 16, new applications for golden visas are no longer valid, but residence permits for investment will remain effective. The majority of residence permits were exclusively for real estate purchases, with only a small number of investors creating jobs. Therefore, the permits granted under the scheme will be converted into normal residence permits. However, golden visas for entrepreneurship will remain available for those interested. These new visa applications are assessed based on the economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural relevance of the investment.
According to El Pais, Portuguese authorities granted a total of 11,758 Golden Visas between October 2019 and February 2023. Chinese nationals were the main beneficiaries, followed by Brazilians, Americans, South Africans, and Turks. Wealthy foreign investors obtained residency in Portugal by making financial investments in the country. The termination of the residence-by-investment programme follows Portugal’s current housing crisis, among other reasons.
However, terminating the programme also risks losing digital nomads who have concerns about their future in the country. Portugal is determined to become a more attractive country for digital nomads, and the cancellation of one form of visa can cause uncertainty to others, making them question whether they want to stay. According to data from the Foreigners and Border Service (SEF), golden visa investments in real estate brought Portugal an additional €5.9 billion during the last decade.