Thanks to the ‘Golden Visa’ Scheme (and to China)
Portugal is currently enjoying a boom in its property market due to the success of the ‘Golden Visa’ investment initiative. While most countries are exploring ways of imposing bigger taxes on foreign property owners, Portugal has chosen to relax its laws with an initiative in which foreign investors can acquire residency simply by investing in property. In recently released statistics, the Interior Ministry of Portugal revealed that over 6,400 non-Europeans have been given residency since the initiative was launched. This has generated as much as €3.97 billion (around US$4.7 billion) in investments which mainly consist of property.
China is leading the Way
Until 2012, when the initiative was launched, most of the foreign investors in Portugal have been British or Irish. These days, Chinese people make up the most non-European residents in Portugal by far with close to 4,000 residencies granted to Chinese nationals since the start of the initiative. In total, the investments made by visa applicants from China thus far amounts to over €2 billion. Brazilians come second with over 580 residencies granted through the scheme. There are also 259 South Africans, 236 Turks and 227 Russians who have availed of the ‘Golden Visa’ Investments have proven to be substantial and steady and the scheme is clearly lucrative.
What Makes the ‘Golden Visa’ Scheme a Golden Opportunity
Launched with the goal of bolstering the economy by encouraging foreign investment, the ‘Golden Visa’ scheme gives foreign investors the opportunity to achieve residency in Portugal. To achieve this they have to purchase property worth at least €500,000. Because Portugal is a member of the European Union, residents are allowed free movement across what’s known as the ‘Schengen Area’ which consists of 26 states. Not to mention stunning beaches, temperate weather and world-renowned cuisine Portugal is known for.
Spain, Malta and Cyprus all have similar visa initiatives.