‘Golden visa’ freeze in Portugal won’t last - expert

The Portugal residency programme has attracted more than €1.4bn in foreign direct investment to the country since its launch in 2012. (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Portugal residency programme has attracted more than €1.4bn in foreign direct investment to the country since its launch in 2012. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cape Town – Portugal’s freeze on “golden visas” this week will likely thaw out swiftly, according to a leader in the foreign residency and citizenship sector.

Henley & Partners group vice chairperson Andrew Taylor told Fin24 on Thursday that “all signs are positive that it will be resolved swiftly”.

This comes after Portugal temporarily suspended the processing of applications for its Golden Residence Permit Programme in an effort to increase legislative and regulatory control.

WATCH: How rich do you really need to be to buy a 'golden visa'?

Portuguese prosecutors are charging a former interior minister for his role in a money-laundering scandal involving the golden visas that also implicated the former head of border police, AFP reported on Tuesday.

“Chinese, followed by Brazilians and Russians were the top recipients of the visas,” it reported. “As of late last month, Portugal counted 2 420 ‘golden visas’ had been issued and had brought €1.46bn of investment into the country.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Top countries to have a second home

Taylor said the suspension was a result of a new law which was approved at the end of June 2015. “The rules and regulations of this law are in the process of being analysed and have created a legal vacuum, resulting in the suspension of applications,” he said.

“New applications may be filed, but as expected won’t progress until the rules that guide the new law are published. This usually happens within 90 days although we anticipate it to happen sooner.”

“We need to remember that this is a suspension and not a cancellation,” he said. “The programme has attracted more than €1.4bn in foreign direct investment to the country since its launch in 2012. All signs are positive that it will be resolved swiftly."

WATCH: Choosing between a residency and citizenship 'golden visa' isn't as easy as it looks

The Golden Residence Permit Programme recently emerged as the best residence-by-investment programme in the world in 2015 in the Henley & Partners Global Residence Programme Index (GRPI).

The index uses unprecedented, objective and scientific methodology to systematically analyse 19 of the most relevant residence-by-investment programmes.

This coupled with news that Portugal had reduced the minimum qualifying capital requirement for its residence program to €350 000 for properties that were constructed more than 30 years ago or located in areas of urban regeneration, made it a compelling offer.

“Although this might be inconvenient now for some, in my opinion, this will add more credibility to the application process in the long run,” said Taylor.

“It can be tricky to navigate the ins-and-outs of these programmes,” he said. “It is always best to speak to qualified advisors … to ensure that investments stay sound.”

ZAR/USD
16.99
(+0.96)
ZAR/GBP
21.40
(+0.56)
ZAR/EUR
19.27
(+0.40)
ZAR/AUD
11.84
(+0.56)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.85)
Gold
1814.10
(+1.15)
Silver
18.65
(+2.28)
Platinum
848.00
(+1.43)
Brent Crude
42.97
(-0.05)
Palladium
1938.00
(+1.59)
All Share
55880.33
(+1.15)
Top 40
51565.34
(+1.26)
Financial 15
10292.25
(+2.03)
Industrial 25
77708.88
(+1.11)
Resource 10
52595.71
(+1.11)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1773 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2330 votes
My finances have been devastated
35% - 3484 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2499 votes
Vote