The way Portugal attributes Golden Visas is to radically change – and the detailed announcement of these changes is expected to come today from the lips of the Golden Visa ambassador himself, Paulo Portas.
As readers will be aware, the Golden Visa programme – aside from reviving Portugal’s real estate sector and generating over a billion euros worth of business – has been in the public eye since police uncovered a high-level web of corruption.
As Operation Labyrinth continues to get to the bottom of favours granted, palms greased and properties allegedly sold at sky-high values in order to satisfy certain terms of the programme, the government has gone in for a major reshuffle of how Golden Visa business is conducted.
Terms – which until last week involved either applicants starting a business which employed ten people; buying a property valued at €500 thousand or over, or transferring €1 million in cash to Portugal to remain on deposit for a period of five years – are now being ‘widened’ to include activities not related to the real estate sector.
Talking in parliament on Thursday, Marques Guedes, minister for the presidency of the council of ministers, explained the Golden Visa model would now embrace scientific investigation, culture and urban rehabilitation.
Projects for Portugal’s low-density areas (i.e. the rural interior) would be given priority, he said – though the full details are due to be revealed later today at a press conference headed by Portas and the new Minister for Internal Administration Anabela Rodrigues.
Again, as readers will be aware, Rodrigues replaced her predecessor Miguel Macedo – forced to step down as details of the Golden Visa corruption scandal exploded on national and international media.
Rodrigues is also expected to present the new ‘manual’ that border control personnel will now be expected to use when dealing with Golden Visa applications.