Portugal has announced the end of its golden visa scheme, which has boosted the national economy by billions of dollars over the past decade.
All applications for new golden visas submitted after February 16 are no longer valid, although residence permits for investment will remain valid.
The Portuguese prime minister, António Costa, stated, “Nothing justifies a special regime for golden visas.”
Between 2012 and 2023, 89 percent of residency permits were issued only for the acquisition of real estate, while only 22 cases involved investors creating jobs.
Also, Costa stated that resident permits awarded under the scheme will be changed into standard residence permits, identical to those of foreign citizens, so that everyone is treated equally under national law.
Nonetheless, golden visas for entrepreneurs will remain accessible, allowing international entrepreneurs who wish to launch a project in this field in Portugal to continue doing so. These new visa applications are evaluated based on the investment’s economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural significance.
According to El Pais, the Portuguese government issued 11,758 Golden Visas between October 2019 and February 2023. In addition to their family members, the number of non-EU immigrants who have secured a Portuguese residence visa has reached approximately 31,000.
Chinese citizens continue to be the primary beneficiaries, accounting for 45% of all golden visas obtained, followed by Brazilians (10%), as well as a significant number of beneficiaries from the United States, South Africa, and Turkey.
Under Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, wealthy overseas investors who make financial investments in the country are granted residency. The decision to stop this programme is a result of Portugal’s current housing crisis, among other factors.
Portugal risks losing digital nomads if it discontinues the residence-by-investment scheme, as these individuals are uncertain about their future in the nation. Currently, the most popular destinations for digital nomads are Dubai, Singapore, Turkey, Germany, and Hong Kong.
On the other hand, Portugal is determined to become a more attractive country for digital nomads, who are concerned that the elimination of one type of visa will create uncertainty for others, prompting them to question whether they wish to remain in Portugal and whether what happened to investors with golden visas could eventually occur to them.
The Foreigners and Border Service (SEF) reports that golden visa investments in real estate have earned Portugal an additional €5.9 billion over the past decade.