Despite total investment falling by more than 11 percent in 2019 as compared to the previous year, Portugal still netted more than €740 million from wealthy foreign investors applying to its golden visa program.
In all, Portugal issued 1,245 golden visas to investors and more than 2,000 visas to their dependent family members.
While annual investments fell year-on-year, the last quarter of 2019, especially the month of October, saw a healthy 24 percent jump in month-on-month demand for the golden visa.
As has been the historical trend, the majority of investors preferred to put money into real estate.
Candidates generally chose to invest €500,000 or more into residential real estate in either Lisbon or Porto.
Distribution of Golden Visa Investments in 2019
|Investment Option||No. of visas||Investment (million €)|
| || || |
|€500,000 in real estate||946||584.5|
|Real estate urban rehabilitation option||214||76|
| || || |
|Transfers exceeding €1 million||73||78|
|Portuguese investment funds/venture capital funds||7||3.1|
|Portuguese commercial company and creation of five jobs||1||0.35|
In fact, 2019 may well be the last year to see such lopsided investment patterns. Excessive influx of foreign capital is beginning to have an adverse impact on public opinion as well as, according to economists and policy advisors, Portugal’s real estate sector.
Since November 2012, the program has helped Portugal attract close to €5 billion in foreign capital, with the bulk of the money flowing into the country’s real estate sector.
As 2019 numbers show, just one investor out of more than 1,150 golden visa investors chose to qualify for fast-track permanent residence through the job creation route.
This is particularly striking considering this investment option does not mandate any minimum limits. The investor just needs to create ten jobs in the country, which, at least in theory, could be done by investing less than the €500,000 required under the real estate option.
The sole investor focusing on job creation qualified for the golden visa by investing just €350,000.
Source of Golden Visa Demand
With 4.467 visas, China has dominated the program, accounting for more than 90 percent of all visas issued. The extent of Chinese demand is evident considering second-ranked Brazil has received just 863 visas in the past seven years.
Turkey, South Africa, and Russia follow in the list of top five countries with the highest demand for Portugal’s golden visa.
The Path Ahead
Fast-track EU residence combined with the prospect of becoming a naturalized EU citizen in the future makes Portugal an attractive destination for investment immigrants.
However, demand may taper if Portugal follows the Australian route and imposes restrictions on direct real estate investments by golden visa investors. The impact of such a negative move may get magnified considering multiple options within the EU, like Cyprus, Malta, Spain, and Greece, for wealthy investment immigrants across the globe.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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