The Portugal immigration golden visa program is set to change some of its thresholds to boost investment in businesses.
Under the new rules, investment requirements in Portuguese companies will range from €200,000 to €350,000, while the threshold for real estate requirement will rise to €500,000.
Current rules call for a €350,000 investment in real estate and €500,000 in small and mid cap finance.
The move is an indication the country wants to divert some of its investment income away from real estate and into Portuguese companies.
Proposed Portugal Investment Threshold Changes
|Before proposed changes
|After proposed changes
|€200,000 to €350,000
The plan has been given the green light by the cabinet, and will now be sent to parliament for formal approval.
Constança Urbano de Sousa, Portugal’s internal administration minister said that if the threshold remained the same, real estate investment was significantly more attractive. By adjusting the thresholds as indicated, some of the investment euros will be pumped into businesses.
“These companies are the drivers of the Portuguese economy,” De Sousa said.
Investment in Portugal’s golden visa recently crossed the $3 billion threshold, according to the European country’s immigration department.
Figures show $2.7 billion out of the total was invested in property, with the remainder flowing in through the capital transfer stream of the popular investment immigration program.
The total number of visas issued reached 4,881 in March 2017, since the program was launched on October 8, 2012. That includes 679 visas awarded so far this year.
Portugal’s program is well-established and features access to the whole of the EU, a key benefit for mainly-Chinese investors looking for a better future for their offspring.
This includes attending European universities for a fraction of the tuition fees paid by overseas students.
The program has been lucrative for the Portuguese economy, particularly the real estate market, which has recovered from the dark days of the global financial crisis thanks in part to the investment attracted.
Current Investment Requirements: Portugal Golden Residence Investor Program
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies
Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €350,000.
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas
Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.
Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.
Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.
Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.
Although property investment is not the only investment stream, it is by far the most popular, as investors look to use Portuguese residency as an access window to the European Union.
Changes implemented in September 2015 rejuvenated the program.
They included new investment options for buying older property, or buying a building in a designated regeneration area. Aa scientific research investment option was also introduced.
Existing investment classes include general real estate, capital transfer and job creation.
There were fears candidates for investment immigration programs could start turning their attention away from European countries like Portugal and towards the Caribbean, because of the UK’s impending exit from the European Union.
‘Brexit’ could mean the investment immigration programs run by the likes of Cyprus, Malta and Portugal may no longer be able to offer visa-free travel to the UK, one of their key benefits.
But the continued success of the Portugal program appears to suggest there has been little impact so far.
Portugal’s golden visa has been highlighted as one of the chief drivers behind Lisbon’s emergence from economic difficulties.
Global real estate agency Savills says the property market in the capital is thriving thanks to the success of the investor program.
The Savills report uses data up until 2015, pointing out that €1.56 billion of investment could be traced back to the 2,697 golden visas awarded under the program. Chinese investors account for 83 per cent of real estate acquisitions.
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