In order to strengthen the support of rehabilitation, the Government has revealed that it will revise the rules of the Golden Visa Programme. But, contrary to what the Left Bloc demands, António Costa's socialist executive refuses to end the program of assigning residences to foreigners in exchange for investment in Portugal.
Golden Visas are a "useful" but limited instrument, and should serve to capture investment in "decisive areas" for Portugal, the Foreign Minister said on Monday in response to questions from the PSD and the Left Bloc.
"The regime of residence permits [Golden Visas] is a useful instrument, but it has to be put in its place," said Lusa Augusto Santos Silva – quoted during the debate on the proposed State Budget for 2019, at a joint hearing by the parliamentary committees on Budget, Finance, Administrative Modernization, and on Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities.
The minister said that in six years, Golden Visa Programme allowed to attract four billion euros of investment.
Santos Silva responded to the Social Democrat deputy, Virgílio Macedo, who considered the program "a success" and asked if there was any "ideological reserve" to end it, and Pedro Filipe Soares deputy from the Left Block, questioned "the prominence given by AICEP to real estate investment and criticized the “brutal increase” in real estate speculation.
Real estate, the sector that won most with the golden visa
The minister admitted that the regime has proved its usefulness in raising investment through acquisition of real estate and stressed that it also had a positive impact on "favouring construction activity and generating employment." Additionally, he said, Golden Visas have also allowed (on a smaller scale) to attract capital, what is also important given "the level of decapitalization" of the Portuguese economy stemming from the low saving rate.
However, the regime did not meet the expectations, said Santos Silva, in terms of "productive investment support that generates employment". "Over six years of the program, only 12 residence permits were awarded because of the creation of at least 10 jobs," he said.
"Therefore, as Prime Minister António Costa has already said, we are committed to the evaluation and possible revision of the Golden Visa mechanism," said Santos Silva, refusing any intention to "throw it out", but rather admitting the will to " improve it, redirect it and correct it ".
Reorientation from acquisition to rehabilitation
The minister mentioned the possibility of attracting investment "to more critical areas", as in the case of real estate, "in urban and heritage rehabilitation" and not so much in the acquisition "which effect on the rise in prices is evident."
You can read the original article in Portuguese here.