Europe Moves Away from Golden Visas

Golden Visa Gone EU Moves Away from Residency by Investment

Last week, two European Union member states ended their Residency by Investment programs, and a third may soon follow suit. Ireland became the first EU country to end its Golden Visa scheme in 2023 on February 14, followed by Portugal on February 16. In addition, the leader of Spain’s Más País political party has submitted a bill to Congress to terminate the Spanish Golden Visa by purchase of real estate, which could make Spain the third country to end its Golden Visa program.

Ireland Golden Visa

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP), also known as Ireland’s “Golden Visa”, has been terminated by the Irish government with immediate effect. The program allowed non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationals to gain permission to immigrate to Ireland in exchange for investing at least one million Euros in an approved investment vehicle and having a net worth exceeding two million Euros.

Launched in 2012 to aid Ireland’s economic recovery, the IIP came under increased scrutiny as the country’s economy grew, prompting the Department of Justice to state that the program had served its purpose of attracting foreign investment to Ireland.

While Ireland cited the “appropriateness and suitability” of its program for cultural, social, and economic use as the reason for ending its program, the other two countries cited the housing crisis as their primary motivation. The Irish Minister for Justice, Simon Harris, stated that the decision to end the program was informed by reports and findings from the EU Commission, Council of Europe, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on similar investment programs.

The IIP stopped accepting applications on February 15, with the roughly 1,500 filed before that date still being processed. Current immigration permissions will remain valid, and individuals may apply for renewal when they expire.

Portugal Golden Visa

Portugal, which granted 12,000 Golden Visas since the program’s inception in 2012, has now closed its Golden Visa program. The country’s Prime Minister, António Costa, announced the decision as part of an effort to combat property and rental price speculation. Existing Golden Visa holders are unaffected by the program’s suspension, and their visas will be renewed as long as they either live in their Portuguese property or rent it for the long term.

The government clarified that the program was not a significant factor in rising housing costs, but rather that the decision was made to combat real estate speculation.

Portugal’s Citizenship by Investment program, one of the most popular in the world, allowed foreigners to purchase property or make capital transfer investments in exchange for residency. From January to August 2022, the program brought in nearly €398 million for the country, according to LUSA, Portugal’s national news agency.

Spain Golden Visa

In Spain, the bill submitted by the leader of the left-wing political party Más País aims to terminate the possibility of obtaining a Golden Visa by purchasing real estate. If the bill is approved, it will modify articles 63 and 64 of Law 14/2013, thereby eliminating the purchase of real estate as a means of becoming a resident in Spain.

The party is concerned that the scheme is driving up housing prices and making it difficult for Spanish nationals to buy property, especially in popular tourist destinations and large cities. Introduced in 2013, the Golden Visa program allowed foreigners to obtain a Spanish residence permit by purchasing real estate worth at least €500,000 in the country.

If the bill is approved, purchasing real estate in Spain will no longer be an option to obtain residency in the country. The only available options will be launching a business project that creates jobs or innovation.

How IBN Immigration Solutions can help you

IBN Immigration Solutions has assisted numerous clients in successfully receiving their visas across Europe and would love to assist you too! With the removal of these Golden Visas, we can identify your best solution for travelling across Europe and make your relocation dreams a reality!

We are familiar with all the requirements for applications, possible red-flags, and hold-ups in immigration, meaning that you’ll be in safe hands.

Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor

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