New data by the national immigration and borders service (SEF) has revealed that while fewer golden visas were granted to foreign investors last year, more and more holders are bringing their families to Portugal. In other words, each golden visa granted brought on average three people to the country.
The news was reported last week by Diário de Notícias which described it as a sign that these investors are moving to Portugal ‘for good’ and not just to use the country as a gateway to other countries.
Looking at the numbers, a total of 1,351 golden visas were granted last year, fewer than in 2016 (1,414).
However, more family members arrived in Portugal via the scheme (2,678 compared to 2,344).
Y Ping Chow, president of the League of Chinese in Portugal, explained that this is, in fact, a growing tendency.
“(Golden visa holders) come first and then bring their families. They stay here, develop other investments and interests. Often, the spouse and children arrive first and, if things go well for them, their parents and in-laws will want to move to Portugal too,” he told DN.
The golden visa is valid for the receiver, their spouse, children and parents if they are considered “dependents”.
A total of 14,868 foreign investors have become golden visa holders since the scheme was introduced in 2012 – 5,553 permits being granted to investors, and the remaining 9,315 to their families.
Most golden visa applicants chose to purchase a property costing €500,000 or more, one of the requirements to be eligible for the document.
DN adds that the scheme has brought €3.5 billion into Portugal since it was launched, mostly from the purchase of properties.
The majority of visas (64.6%) has been granted to Chinese citizens, although Brazilians are starting to account for a large number of them too. Visas attributed to Brazilians almost doubled from 2016 to 2017, reaching a total of 463.
Lawyer Vasco Esteves, who works in immigration, told DN that while many Brazilians used to apply for Portuguese residency to then be allowed to travel elsewhere, such as the USA, now they are coming here to live permanently and obtain Portuguese nationality.