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Portugal and Ireland have ended their Golden Visa programmes; Spain may follow suit

This week, two European Union Member States discontinued their Residence by Investment programmes, and a third may follow soon.

Ireland became the first EU member to discontinue its Golden Visa scheme in 2023 on February 14, followed by Portugal the next day, on February 16.

In the same week, the leader of the political party Más Pas introduced a bill in Congress to terminate the Spanish Golden Visa through the purchase of real estate, perhaps making Spain the third country to stop its Golden Visa, albeit partially.

While Ireland argues that the programme was terminated owing to its "appropriateness and fitness for cultural, social, and economic use," the other two have a similar rationale for the move, which is the housing crisis.

On announcing the end of the Golden visa programme in Ireland, the country's Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, stated that the scheme was originally designed to encourage investment in Ireland during a period of economic hardship.

While he did not provide a specific reason for the program's termination, he did state that a number of reports and findings by the EU Commission, Council of Europe, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on similar investment programmes had been considered before making the decision to end Golden Visas for good.

"But, it is critical that we continue to assess all programmes, including any consequences for broader public policy, such as the program's continued appropriateness and fitness for cultural, social, and economic usage," he stated.

The decision to discontinue the Golden Visa Program in Portugal, on the other hand, was made as part of a larger package of measures to solve the country's housing crisis.

The Portuguese Council, in presenting the package, stated that it had chosen not to grant new Golden Visas while allowing "current ones to be extended, if they are real estate investments, exclusively for own and permanent dwelling, or if it is placed on the rental market for a long period."

The government has underlined, however, that it is aware that the programme is not one of the primary causes of growing home costs in Portugal, arguing that the decision was made to combat real estate speculation.

According to Spain, the leader of the left-wing political group Más Pas, Igo Errejón, has proposed a measure to Congress to end the option of acquiring a Golden visa by purchasing a property or other types of real estate in Spain.

While the bill has not yet been debated in Congress, if it is adopted, articles 63 and 64 of Law 14/2013 will be amended, thereby eliminating the purchase of real estate as a means of becoming a resident in Spain.By fLEXI tEAM


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