More than 1,300 Golden Visas awarded in 2017
Since the Golden Visa scheme was launched in 2012, €3.5 billion has been spent in Portugal by non-EU residents as part of the qualification criteria.
A total of 5,553 residence permits have been granted to immigrants to Portugal, not that Golden Visa holders have to live here, yet the official number of foreigners entering the country is estimated by the government to be three times this figure as qualifying family members join the principal applicant.
The scheme so far has registered 14,868 Golden Visa holders, some of whom have settled in Portugal full-time.
In most cases, the qualification was through the purchase of a property of €500,000 or more, a proportion of which have been left empty or rented out as the Golden Visa holder qualifies for unlimited access to Schengen area countries and has no obligation to settle in Portugal.
For 2017, the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) states that 1,351 Golden Visa residence permits were issued, a slight decrease on 2016 when 1,414 were authorised.
The overall inward ‘investment’ figure fails to recognise the final destination of the sums used to buy properties as a proportion of owners, especially foreign ones heading elsewhere, move the resulting funds out of the country.
The government and local councils receive income from property purchase taxes but these would be triggered whether the buyer was a Golden Visa applicant or simply someone who wants an expensive house or apartment.
The above content produced by swissinfo.ch is not intended for commercial use and may not be republished by third parties either wholly or in part.