June 20. 2024. 2:26

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Portugal to end controversial yet lucrative golden visa scheme

Portugal will end its golden visa programme, which fast-tracks residence permits for large investors from outside the EU and has raked in billions of euros in investments, in a push to combat property speculation, Prime Minister António Costa announced on Thursday.

The programme, known as the Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), has brought in €6.9 billion in investments since it was created in 2012.

The government will end the “granting of new ‘golden visas’“, Costa told journalists in Lisbon after a cabinet meeting exclusively dedicated to housing.

“As for ‘golden visas’ already granted, … there will only be scope for renewal if they are for the owner’s own and permanent residence and that of their descendants, or if the property is placed on the long-term rental market,” he explained.

The level of rent set for new residential rental contracts is to be set according to criteria that limit their increase, according to Costa.

“For new contracts, the new rent must result from the sum of the last rent practised with the updates that could have been made during the contract period,” he explained.

Besides these two criteria, the level of the new rent may also take into account the 2% target for inflation defined by the European Central Bank (ECB).

The measure is part of the Socialist government’s ‘More Housing’ package that was approved by the cabinet on Thursday and aims to combat rent price speculation.

(Tiago Almeida/Lusa.pt)