Spain to axe Golden Visas scheme

 In Golden Visa, Investment Visas, News

After Portugal effectively axing its money-spinning Golden Visa scheme except for a fund investment option, Spain has now announced it will do the same.

Says the BBC, Spanish government ministers agreed to terminate the programme by which investors receive a residency card allowing full access to the Schengen area in return for buying property worth €500,000 or more.
The visa scheme was created in 2013 by the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy following Portugal’s example in 2012 under the centre-right PSD-CDS-PP coalition government of Pedro Passos Coelho. It was considered the brainchild and flagship policy of the then deputy prime minister, Paulo Portas.
It was seen as a way of attracting badly needed foreign investment in the wake of the eurozone crisis, which hit Spain’s property sector particularly hard.
A total of 6,200 visas were issued until 2023 for investment in property, according to the organisation Transparency International, although other sources put the number higher.
Nearly half of beneficiaries of Spain’s Golden Visa – a total of 2,712 – were Chinese, according to Transparency International.
Russians were the next most numerous recipients, with 1,159, followed by Iranians (203), and citizens of the US (179) and the UK (177) says the BBC.
The “golden visa” scheme also provided residency in exchange for investing €2m (£1.7m) or more in state bonds, or for investing in emerging Spanish companies.
However, only 6% of visas were awarded for reasons other than the purchase of property, the government said.
The reason for the scrap in Spain is identical to that of the previous Portuguese PS party government of António Costa – property speculation. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his government’s intention to scrap the scheme was intended “to guarantee that housing is a right and not merely the subject of business speculation”.
He said that the majority of visas awarded were linked to the purchase of properties in places such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga, Alicante and the Balearic Islands – all areas where the housing market “is under enormous pressure and where it is almost impossible for people who live and work in those places and pay their taxes each day to find affordable housing”.