Portugal’s property market remains relatively strong, but fewer investors from overseas are talking advantage of an innovative visa programme that enables foreign investors to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal.
The ‘golden visa’ programme launched by the Portuguese Authorities in October 2012 is a fast track for foreign investors to gain residency in Portugal and free access to the vast majority of European countries in the Schengen area. The programme is targeted at high-profile non-European Union citizens, allowing direct access to citizenship after only six years.
But the latest figures released by the Immigration Service (SEF) show that foreign direct investment attracted to Portugal through the government's ‘golden visa’ was down 18.7% in November from October, at €47.6m (£40m).
In November, 78 ‘golden visas’ were issued, of which 74 were for property purchases - the qualifying threshold for these being €500,000 (£420,700).
Since the scheme - one of the most successful across the EU - was introduced just over four years ago, it has brought in €2.48bn (£2.09bn) in investment by non-EU citizens.
Citizens of China are by far the largest group of beneficiaries, at 2,973 permits so far, followed by Brazil with 229, Russia with 143, South Africa with 130 and Lebanon with 70.