The Portuguese Golden Visa programme has been a great success.
The Golden Visa – which enables investors and their family members to acquire residence in Portugal and ultimately Portuguese citizenship – has been in existence since October 2012. It has provided a relatively simple and highly flexible scheme for investors to invest in fields of their choice. Depending on the field of investment the required amount of investment can be very low by international standards.
Golden Visa holders who eventually acquire Portuguese citizenship would thus acquire European free movement rights, which provides strong immigration rights throughout all the EEA countries and Switzerland. This enables a person to live, work or study throughout the free movement area with very little restriction. Thus the scheme can bring valuable benefits both for participants and for the Portuguese economy in terms of inward investment.
Official figures show how successful the Golden Visa programme has been. Since the programme started the total amount of investments made exceeds 2.2 billion Euros, and the rate of investment is increasing. In the first half of 2016 up until the end of June the level of investment has been over 500 million Euros (which is greater than for the whole of 2015). The number of investors for the first half of 2016 was 821 and their family members totalled 1,212.
Clearly, this rate of growth is exponential, and the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs has explained that the Government considers Golden Visas to be a priority and that more resources have been put into processing Golden Visa applications. As a result, the processing times are now similar to what they were previously, even though there is now a much larger number of applications. Applications are typically processed within two to three months.
Statistics also show that the most popular field of investment is property and that the Golden Visa is currently most popular amongst the Chinese, but people from many other nationalities are also participating – including of course the Brazilians, who in many cases have ethnic connections and who already speak the language.
So the Portuguese Golden Visa is one of the most successful citizenship by investment programmes in Europe – no doubt because of its favourable terms and flexibility. It enables the modestly wealthy and their families to attain a home in Europe, where they can either live full-time or part of the time, depending on their lifestyle and financial situation.