Portugal’s decision to reduce the minimum investment limit for its Golden Visa program to €350,000 has made it the cheapest investment immigration program for non-EU applicants barring Greece. With the Greek economic crisis making investors wary, Portugal is the most-preferred option for wealthy investors.
The Portuguese Golden Visa offers multiple investment choices with varying minimum requirements. Property investors must bring in at least €500,000, reduced to invest €350,000 for those rehabilitation or renovation projects. SME investors must contribute €500,000 while those preferring bank deposits must invest at least €1 million.
National heritage or art-related projects can lead to permanent residence and subsequent citizenship for those contributing at least €250,000. Or, applicants can qualify for the Golden Visa by simply creating ten local jobs.
The Golden Visa program has led to inflow of €1.25 billion into the country since the program’s inception in October 2012. Real estate investments accounted for €1.1 billion. Inflow of FDI has contributed to a 1.8% increase in real estate prices in the first quarter of 2015. The Golden Visa helped the real estate sector overcome three years of recession to show signs of recovery in 2014.
The visa is initially issued for a period of two years renewable twice for another two years. The visa is renewed provided the applicant has complied with the investment norms, resided in Portugal for not less than seven days and 14 days in the first and all subsequent years respectively. After six years as a permanent resident, a Golden Visa holder fulfilling language-related conditions is eligible to apply for citizenship.
Portugal’s scheme is considered one of the best in the world since it offers numerous benefits like visa-free access to Schengen region and many other nations, a liberal tax regime, quicker processing, and easy inclusion of family members.
Further, Portugal ranks high on the Human Development Index and offers the twin advantages of a stable polity and a growing economy. Around 2100 investors have been issued Golden visas along with an additional 3100 visas to their family members.
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