According to the Portuguese government, applications for the Golden Visa Programme made after February 16 will be suspended.
The bill of the Mais Habitacao programme stipulates that only applications for Residence Permit for Investment (ARI) submitted by February 16 and pending a decision from the competent authorities remain valid, while all other applications will be blocked if submitted after that date.
The announcement alarmed affluent international investors, and the Portuguese Ministry of Housing quickly clarified the situation, confirming that requests received after February 16 would not be deemed acceptable.
According to a Ministry announcement obtained by Jornal de Negocios, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) will continue to accept requests until the scheme becomes effective. However, as of the date of the regime's revocation, all requests submitted after that date are aware of such a condition, so there is no guarantee of analysis or decision, the procedure being extinguished when the law becomes effective.
The Golden Visa scheme in Portugal, also known as the Residence Permit for Investment (ARI), allowed affluent foreign investors to obtain residency in the country in exchange for a financial commitment. Yet, a great number of reports claiming that the initiative was an open door to various illegal activities prompted authorities in this country to cancel the programme.
Portugal's Golden Visa scheme was officially ended in February of this year, making it the second country after Ireland to do so. Despite a 41.9 percent rise in investments made in Portugal through this initiative last year, the Portuguese government has suspended the issuance of golden visas.
However, according to local media accounts, the government's cancellation of the golden visa plan prompted a big number of foreign investors to engage in this project. Numerous Portuguese legal firms confirmed to receiving a considerable number of inquiries from persons interested in obtaining a golden visa in Portugal.
“Ensuring that there is a safeguard period for analysis of requests for ARI already entered in the competent services until February 16 makes sense since, in these cases, there was a legitimate expectation of a decision that is intended to be maintained, given that nothing had been said about the continuity of the regime until that date,” according to the Housing Minister’s office.
Authorities in EU countries have repeatedly pushed all European countries that issue Golden Visas to discontinue such programmes as soon as possible, with Spain being the most recent to do so.
By fLEXI tEAM