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Golden Visa numbers well down

GoldenVisaGolden Visa numbers fell again in March to just 87. This was 16 fewer than the 103 granted in February, but nine more than the 78 recorded in January.

The amount invested during March by wealthy foreigners buying property in Portugal, or by transferring €1 million to the country, fell by €10 million compared to February, with €54 million being spent.

The figures released today by the Portuguese Confederation of Construction and Real Estate showed that real estate sector continues to attract much of the inbound capital but that the figures are well down of those seen before the corruption probe and arrests of many of those in charge of administering the system.

Since the programme began in late 2012, 2,290 Golden Visas have been issued, of which 2,166 have been handed out to non-European buyers who have secured a residential property for €500,000 or more.

A further 121 Golden Visas have been handed out to those importing €1 million and just three have been given to those who have set up a business employing the requisite number of workers.

Last October, 211 Golden Visas were issued. This fell dramatically in November to 161, with just 86 in December as the scandal surrounding  Paulo Portas’s pet project saw Operation Labyrinth in full swing with the arrest of allegedly corrupt government employees suspected variously of money laundering, influence peddling and embezzlement.

According to the latest data, Chinese citizens represent 80% of the foreign investors, followed by Brazil (4%), Russia (3%), South Africa (2%) and Lebanon (2%).

The Confederation of Construction and Real Estate issued a statement today calling for the rapid implementation of the legislative changes to the Golden Visa programme which have been passed in principle in parliament.

Changes to the programme include allowing urban renewal projects, research activities and projects that support the arts or culture all to qualify, especially if the location is in one of Portugal’s sparsely populated areas.

For the Confederation these additional criteria cannot come soon enough to attract new investors to the country.

To detractors, these new areas and the proposed lowering of the investment figure to below €500,000 for certain projects, devalues a scheme which already has drawn criticism for the zero tax policy for already wealthy foreigners while those in Portugal who actually have a job, continue to struggle under an ever increasing tax burden. 

Equality of treatment when it comes to taxation is one of the government's more ironic bylines and granting already rich Chinese businessmen tax free status and almost unlimited travel within Europe, in return for enriching estate agents and builders, seems a world away from the fairness and equality that Portugal professes to practice but has yet to achieve.

Comments  

-11 #1 Katey 2015-04-09 08:05
The angle the TV news take is that the main attraction of these Golden Visa's was precisely because the ID checks were so minimal or non-existent.

With the more developed EU now watching closely who Portugal allows in ... and no doubt still trying to track and control those let in previously - it is not as quick and easy as before.

No doubt the 'Collectors of bungs' are still rampant - but the rich incomers have read the news and want to know that these jokers can still deliver on their promises. Like the good old days.
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