The Portuguese government has pushed back ending the Golden Visa program, which offers Portuguese residency in return for investments, through the purchase of real estate in Lisbon and Porto.
The investment for residency option was meant to be phased out beginning this year, but the state announced that the process of ending the investment program in the two major metropolitan areas of the country and along the coast will now begin Jan. 1, 2022, according to Público.
The government defends that restricting the program is meant to help promote investment in rural areas of the country that are often overlooked by investors. But investors seeking Golden Visas still have quite a few ways to benefit from the residency program and continue to invest in Lisbon and Porto.
The new legislation that was published last Friday added some changes to the plan that had been announced this past December. For one, investment in commercial real estate, such as office space, retail, and holiday apartments, continues to be permitted in Lisbon and Porto, Expresso reports.
Besides this, the capital transfer thresholds were also updated: the minimum €1 million capital transfer has been raised to €1.5 million, and the €350,000 minimum was pushed up to €500,000, as reported by Público.
Meanwhile, two models of investment-for-residency remain the same. One is the creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal, which has only been utilized 17 times since the program’s inception. There’s also the option of a direct capital investment of €250,000 in artistic production and the maintenance and rehabilitation on national heritage sites — which has never been used.
Related: Golden Visas to End in Lisbon
The government positions this new legislation as a way to incentivize investment in the Azores, Madeira, and inland continental Portugal. Nevertheless, it limits this investment to residential real estate as it continues to permit countless ways for institutional players to continue to invest in Lisbon, Porto, and along the coast. Now, the greater question remains as to how this move will impact housing affordability in the new regions the state aims to direct investment to.