Chinese in last-minute Golden Visa stampede

 In Economy, Golden Visa, News

Chinese investor numbers have increased over the past months to beat the end- of-year deadline when the property purchase option in Lisbon and Porto for Portugal’s residency through investment scheme will no longer be available. 

According to the South China Morning Post, property investors from mainland China have “rushed into Lisbon and Porto” this year — in spite of the pandemic — to buy up real estate ahead of both cities being removed from what it calls a ‘passport for cash scheme.’
In just the second quarter of this year, €37 million has been invested by mainland Chinese in Portugal “which is double their spending for 2019,” says Luiz Felipe Maia, director of Maia International Properties.
Inquiries from Chinese investors “surged 176% between January and September” as investors realised the hottest market in Europe was starting to limit its options — and the economy in China, at odds with that of the rest of the world, is ‘doing well’.
With wealthy Chinese also looking at destinations like Singapore, concern within real estate agencies is that once Lisbon and Porto have been removed for the property purchase aspect of the Golden Visa programme, Chinese investors may lose interest in Portugal altogether.
The question could, however, be rendered academic if Brussels force Member States to stop offering their passports for cash because Euro bureaucrats are concerned that the programmes have been a fast-track open door for organised criminals.
However, Brussels has also stated that it will not insist on countries like Portugal ending programmes that do not offer passports and citizenship for cash, but rather the right to residency.
The citizenship programmes that have attracted bad press and controversy over the past few years are those operated by Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria, for example.
This is the view of the Vice-President of the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII), Hugo Santos Ferreira, who has frequently gone on the record as saying that the European Parliament has never referred to overseas investment attraction programmes such as the Authorisation for Residence through Investment (ARI) programme run by the Portuguese Government since 2012 which has attracted nearly €5Bn of investment.