With Ireland and Portugal’s announcement to scrape golden visas for affluent non-Europeans, the golden visa is going to become tougher to get in European countries. Spain’s left-wing political party, Mas Pais has also submitted a bill to Congress wanting to scrape the golden visa policy in the country.
Golden visa is an immigration program that offers residence permits and travelling access in return for a sizeable investment. However, this program can lead to money laundering and a hike in real estate prices.
To get a golden visa in Europe one must invest thousands and millions of dollars. Despite the risks posed by the program, different variations of the immigration route have been adopted by European as well as other countries in the world including the US, Canada, Greece and Spain.
Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the scrapping of the golden visa program for new overseas property buyers to tackle the lack of affordable and cheap housing facilities in the country.
They introduced the golden visa for non-European citizens a decade ago to fix the country’s coffers after a bailout in 2011 from European Union and International Monetary Fund. Since then, Portugal raised EUR 6.8 billion with 90% of the money being spent on real estate.
However, recently there have been growing concerns about real estate speculation and the consequences on affordable housing.
The new rules mandate foreign real estate buyers with existing golden visas will be eligible to renew them only if their properties are used as their own homes or the units are placed in the market for long-term rent.
Ireland, on the other hand, in a recent take, decided to stop its Immigrant Investor Program also known as the “golden visa” program after a review of its suitability. A review of the program found that it did not meet the policy objectives of the government and there are concerns regarding its transparency, governance and potential of being abused.
The golden visa in Ireland was introduced in 2012 for non-EU citizens who have a personal wealth of at least EUR 2 million and it allowed them to get permission to immigrate based on long-term investment.
Simon Harris, the Justice Minister said that it is important to keep the programs under review including any suggestion for extensive public policy to find out the suitability and appropriateness of the program for social, economic and cultural use.
Applications for the golden visa will no longer be accepted in Ireland. The government has however assured to frame new immigration routes that would align with their policy objectives.
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Source: Live Mint