Golden Visas enquiries continue
An avalanche of confusion has been created by the Government’s decision to “freeze” all Golden Visa applications filed after February 16 – the day it announced a controversial Housing Package.
The race to get in Golden Visa applications had already begun when the Government had announced the end of the programme at Web Summit in October, without giving a specific date.
Since then law firms and consultants say that they had received enquires and applications from hundreds of people interested in getting a Golden Visa in recent weeks, according to the news source Observador.
It reports that some of these applicants already have their Golden Visa applications in the system and are now trying to speed them up.
Wanting to invest in Portugal, and knowing they had little time left, they raced to get their applications in.
It was last week that the newspaper Negócios reported that all new applications for Golden Visas had been frozen from February 16 when the Government presented its ‘More Housing’ package.
The Government has said that all applications made after the announcement of the Housing Package programme (‘Mais Habitação’) on February 16 would be void from that date. However, the President of the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII), Hugo Santos Ferreira, posted on social networks yesterday (March 7) that the platform for the submission of Golden Visas is “still open and continues to work normally”.
“It has been confirmed to me by various lawyers, consultants and other professionals that it is still possible to submit applications for the Golden Visa, and yesterday (March 7) new applications were submitted,” he said.
And the ARI Portal (Golden Visa) on the site of the Portuguese borders and immigration entity SEF has not been taken down and no news has been issued.
Since then the measure designed to alleviate Portugal’s affordable housing shortage has generated a wave of criticisms from the real estate sector and its representatives.
Representatives of the real estate sector say that if the termination of the programme goes ahead, some investors could take the Portuguese Government to court.
According to the Government, the idea is to terminate the application of new golden visas and reevaluate the renewal of existing ones on the basis that a) the owners live in the property for tax purposes or b) if they don’t live in the property, must rent it out for a period of no less than 5 years, c) their descendants (children) occupy the property.