Analysis from Bloombergwhich notes that in 2022, for the first time in the history of golden visas, there are more Americans using the program in Portugal than Chinese.
The problem is not a lack of demand. After all, “Runxue”, which means “plan to escape”, It is the new term popular among the Chinese middle class. The term combining the English word “Run” (“to escape”, in Portuguese) and the Chinese word “Xue” (“to study or analyze”, in Portuguese) has gone viral in the country’s social networks.
And in Portugal, the Chinese are traditionally the main investors in the golden visa program.
But while it is true that the country has a lot to offer – sun, beach, security and a free Schengen ticket – there are also hurdles to consider, such as the need for a face-to-face meeting for a visa, showing the EU’s “dislike” of golden passports, visas and even the ongoing internal discussions.
Let’s move on to the numbers that help to understand this phenomenon.
First, Portugal’s Golden Visa Program continues to attract investment. According to data from the SEF, the amount obtained through golden visas increased by 33% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, to 316.2 million euros.
In total for the semester 649 Residence Permits for Investment Activities (ARI) – 94 in January, 94 in February, 73 in March, 121 in April, 112 in May and 155 in June.
Of the 649 golden visas, 124 were for North Americans and 105 for Chinese, the two dominant nationalities.
This is a reversal that has not been recorded before, as Chinese investors have dominated the golden visa program since 2013 – which was launched in October 2012.
In the first quarter of this year alone, Chinese investment through golden visas fell by 60% to 20.7 million euros. It should be noted that, by way of comparison, in the first quarter of 2021, China topped the top five according to the nationalities of the Residence Permit for Investment (ARI) program, with an amount of 51.7 million euros and 100 “golden visas” raised. .
After all, from its inception until the first half of this year, ARI has collected 6,416,041,013.55 euros in foreign investment. Of this amount, most of it corresponds to the purchase of real estate. In total, 10,903 golden visas were issued: two in 2012, 494 in 2013, 1,526 in 2014, 766 in 2015, 1,414 in 2016, 1,351 in 2017, 1,409 in 2018, 1,245 in 2019, 1 , 182 in 2019 and 2020, 1,182 in 65, 2020, 1,409 in 2022 (in the first half of the year).
Obtaining a Portuguese ARI allows foreign nationals to reside and work in the country, and to move around the Schengen area (see over here List of countries) and benefit from family reunification. To access, you must make sure One of the following conditions:
- Transfer of capital to Portugal in an amount equal to or more than one million euros;
- create at least 10 jobs;
- Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or more than 500 thousand euros;
- acquiring immovable property and carrying out rehabilitation work in a total amount equal to or more than 350 thousand euros;
- Transfer of capital for research (350 thousand euros) or to support artistic production (250 thousand euros);
- the acquisition of units participating in investment funds or venture capital funds intended for the capitalization of companies in an amount equal to or more than 350 thousand euros;
- Transfer of the capital allocated for the establishment of a commercial company headquartered in the national territory in an amount equal to or more than 350 thousand euros.
In addition to the investment, candidates are required to submit all personal documents, a criminal record certificate and also attend an in-person interview – which has proven particularly difficult for Chinese nationals given the restrictions their country imposes in order to combat covid-19.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, China has practiced a ‘zero COVID’ policy, which means the immediate application of confinement measures, mass testing and travel restrictions when an outbreak is detected in a particular location. But insisting on drastic measures, when the rest of the world sees an endemic stage of the disease, It also begins to split Chinese public opinionTired of successive restrictions and restrictions.
At the same time, Tighter controls on golden visas. In March of this year, the European Parliament demanded an end to golden passports and stricter regulation of residency and golden visa regimes, stressing that neither should be granted to the Russian oligarch, at a time of heated confrontation with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
For MEPs, investment citizenship schemes (commonly known as golden passports), under which third-country nationals gain citizenship rights in exchange for a financial investment, “jeopardize the very essence of EU citizenship”.
They see these systems as tantamount to “snooping,” so they should be “gradually eliminated because of the risks involved.” Consequently, the European Parliament has requested the European Commission to submit, before the end of its current mandate, a legislative proposal to this effect.
“European citizenship is not a commodity that can be traded or sold,” MEPs defended the regulations still in place in Malta and Bulgaria (where the government has proposed a law to end the system) and Cyprus (the executive has announced that it has finished reviewing all pending Cypriot citizenship applications before November 2020 ).
For golden visas, the European Parliament is calling for common EU-wide rules to harmonize rules and procedures, in order to strengthen the fight against money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.
Countries that grant golden visas, such as Portugal, are encouraged to conduct strict background checks on applicants (including their family members and sources of financial funding), create reporting obligations and require minimal attendance requirements. Physical and active participation, quality, added value and contribution to the economy.
In addition to Portugal, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain, residence regulations for investment activity in which the minimum required levels range from 60 thousand euros (Latvia) and 1.25 billion euros (Netherlands) also apply.
Internally, there is also an ongoing discussion about the Golden Visa Program.
On June 17, Parliament rejected the proposals of the PPP, BE and PAN to end these golden visas, as well as Chega’s proposal to expand the system, with the Socialist Party defending that it was time for an evaluation.
During the debate, Pedro Felipe Soares, the parliamentary leader of the left-wing bloc, advocated the end of the “immoral” system, in order to “defend the dignity of our country”, arguing that “values are of little value to these parties when it is at stake and money”.
His party’s proposal to end golden visas was rejected by votes against PS, PSD, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal and in favor of PCP, BE, PAN and Livre.
The proposals of the PCP, which sought to abolish the system of granting residence permits for investment activity, had a similar vote and the proposals of the PAN, which also provided for the abolition of the system.
It was also counterproductive to bill the PAN to oblige the government to prepare and report to Parliament to assess the impact of the Golden Visa Program in 2012 and 2021, with PS votes against it, PSD abstaining, and Chega, Iniciativa Liberal, PCP, BE, PAN and Livre votes.
A proposal to extend the regime was also rejected, which led to the possibility of granting a concession to transfer capital in an amount equal to or more than 250 thousand euros, which would be “applied in corporate investment in the agricultural, research and development, tourism sectors.
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