Portugal has become the second EU country this week to scrap the Golden Visa Programme for wealthy non-Europeans, according to reports.
Nairametrics understands that this is not unconnected to the EU’s previous warning, last year, to member states to cease using its so-called “golden passport” programmes in response to growing security concerns.
The Golden Visa Programme helped pull in foreign investment but sparked controversy. In Portugal, the scheme has been attributed to causing a surge in the cost of housing.
According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, the Portuguese Association of Residential Tourism and Resorts (APR) has said that the end of the Golden Visas program could lead to the suspension of investments of over €600 million.
What Portugal’s Prime Minister said: Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, announced that his country would stop issuing new golden visas to fight against price speculation in real estate, according to Fortune.
He also noted that going forward, the visa could only be renewed for those who currently hold them if the property purchased is linked to the holder’s permanent residence or a family member or if it was put on the rental market.
More about Portugal’s Golden Visa: The Golden visa scheme is officially called residence permits for investment. In Portugal, the scheme is issued in exchange for real estate purchases worth at least €500,000. The scheme commenced in 2012 and, since then, has allowed the investor to have five years residency permit in Portugal, after which a permanent residency can be applied for.
The program was launched to aid the financial crisis recovery as it is being granted to affluent people to enable them to gain residency permits to the EU’s borderless travel area.
Chinese took advantage of the scheme: According to data from the Portuguese government, Chinese citizens have received the greatest number of visas since the program’s inception in 2012. Brazilians received over 1,000, while Turkey, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates each received around 500.
The scheme caused house prices to surge: Portugal’s decision to end the program was largely influenced by the worry about the rise in housing costs, which has left many locals struggling to find suitable housing, particularly in Lisbon and Porto, the country’s two largest cities.
These foreign investors purchased homes or apartments and rented them to tourists via websites like Airbnb, and this drove up real estate prices over the years.
Impact on Nigerians interested in the scheme: Nigeria is not in the top 3 of countries that have patronised this scheme, which leaves no significant impact on Nigerians. Conversely, other visa categories may be of interest to Nigerians, such as work visas or student visas.
Student visas appear to be growing in popularity given the affordability of international student fees compared to the UK, US, Canada, and others. The fees range from 550 to 2500 Euros per year for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees.
Another visa that may pique the interest of Nigerians is the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa which can be granted to an individual who earns up to $2,750 monthly from a remote job, granting the holder access to reside temporarily for up to a year.
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