Miguel Albuquerque
Miguel Albuquerque is a fierce defender of the right of his region to maintain golden visas for the purchases of high-end property, and to allow short term rentals to run without extra taxation. Image: Lusa

Madeira condemns axing of golden visas for home purchases

Archipelago insists on “exceptional treatment”

Madeiran government leader Miguel Albuquerque is outraged over the government’s blanket decision to end golden visas for habitational purposes throughout the country.

He insists the issues that prompted Lisbon’s ‘rejection’ of golden visas – namely the housing crisis – do not apply in his region.

“I think it is scandalous that this centralist decision has been applied to the whole country”, the PSD head of Madeira’s regional government tells Lusa.

The final nail in the golden visa coffin was hammered in by parliament last week, with favourable votes from all left-wing parties.

As Lusa explained, “the revocation of residence permits for investment, known as golden visas, was one of the proposals contained in the ‘Mais Habitação’ (More Housing) programme”.

But permutations of the programme remain, as long as investment is not for the purposes of housing – and all residents with golden visas will be able to continue renewing them as before.

This however does not satisfy Madeira, nor apparently the Azores.

Miguel Albuquerque explains that golden visas in his area “have only  been in force for a year, when Lisbon and Porto have had them for more than 10 years”.

The situations in the autonomous regions are “completely different from what is happening in Lisbon (…) measuring the consequences and motives according to the Lisbon yardstick is wrong”.

But for all the bluster, the law has been passed. It is now a case of chasing the horse after it has bolted.

Mr Albuquerque says his regional government “will make a proposal” for a regime of exception, arguing that the decision “greatly harms foreign investment” which he maintains is “important for the regional economy”.

“A country that has no capital needs capital, needs to bring in investors. How are you going to do away with a source of attracting investment, of capital, when you need that capital? This is all nonsense. This is governing with your feet,” he told Lusa

Mr Albuquerque was equally scathing about what he considers the “ridiculous” tax on short-term rental accommodation, which determines that the revenue generated in the autonomous regions will revert to the coffers of the archipelagos.

“It is another scandal. But this is the Socialism we have! Jacobin, centralist, which does not take into account the realities of the country!” 

The island leader claims Madeira “is not interested” in this source of revenue because it has committed “to lower taxes”, contrary to what happens at national level.

“We had last year a tax burden on the mainland, thanks to Socialism, the highest ever – 36.6% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), in Madeira the tax burden is 28% – because we understand that the economy works if we return the money to families and businesses and people have the right to have their business, earn their money in short-term rental accommodation and for this money to circulate in society and to be reinvested – not to be captured by the state machine”, he told Lusa

This is why Madeira intends to make “a proposal again to make an exception (from this clause of the law), because what is happening is that this absolute majority which the PS has on the mainland, is a blind majority that wants to impose its ideological dictats on the whole country.”

Miguel Albuquerque reiterated: “In a macro-brained country, everything is looked at and seen according to this narrow-minded, short-sighted vision, of seeing the reality of the country according to what happens only in Lisbon”.

Source material: LUSA