Portugal suspends its “Golden Visa” programme

The fast-track Golden Visa scheme that was transforming Portugal’s property market has been suspended.

The shock news came this morning in an exclusive by Jornal de Notícias which explains that a new law that came into effect on July 1 has created a “legal vacuum” which requires clarification.

For now this means that any foreigner applying for Golden Visa entry to Europe via Portugal will have to wait.

Only those whose applications had been processed to the point where they need the final “okay” will be exempt, reports JN.

For the full implications of this suspension on Portugal’s real estate and business markets, see Thursday’s edition of the Algarve Resident.

Certainly, regional estate agents appear unphased.

As one who asked to remain anonymous told us this morning, the Golden Visa scheme has “barely touched” the Algarve’s property market.

“The Algarve has benefited to some extent but almost exclusively on large developments where newly built properties have been “packaged up” to cater to the Golden Visa market”, our source explained.

“The traditional holiday home and retirement market of the region has seen significant growth over the last two years but this is a result of the recovery in traditional markets such as the UK – and appearance of new markets such as France, attracted by the fiscal benefits of Portugal’s Non Habitual residence scheme which applies to all foreign nationals and is no way threatened by the controversy surrounding the Golden Visa Scheme”.

As business communities elsewhere wake up to the new reality, the country’s press reports that the suspension will last “at least 90 days” as new legislation is prepared to plug the vacuum that centres on rules conditioning entry, permanence and departure of foreigners to national territory.

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