Portugal Golden Visa Program is a very successful initiative that started in late 2012, and since then, generated a considerable amount of income for the country. However, vast majority of the income has been focused on the real estate investment option that went to Porto and Lisbon properties. In order to be able to prevent the imbalance, and revitalize investments towards other areas and other investment options, the government had decided to block real estate investments in these two cities. These changes were planned to be established and set in motion by 2021. Yet, the recent outbreak of Covid19 pandemic caused massive changes in future plans in all sorts of areas globally.
Portugal Golden Visa Program and its future are also affected by this pandemic. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal recently reported that “The changes are not a priority at the moment”, indicating that it is likely that the program will remain unchanged for the time being. The president of the National Association of Real Estate Professionals (APEMIP), Luis Lima, also argued that “Nobody will emerge from this crisis unscathed and the country would really appreciate the millions of euros that it would receive” from the investments into Porto and Lisbon. Another important figure, Francisco Horta e Costa, the general manager of the Portuguese Delegation of International Property Consultants (CBRE), stated that in these times, Portugal Golden Visa Program could play a role that is “fundamental in helping the market recover following the pandemic.” Hence, the general consensus of the public and the government seems to be that the changes should, and will, be postponed until the air is cleared.
The experts argue that this postponement would be extremely helpful to the country economy after the Covid19 crisis is alleviated. Since Lisbon and Porto are the major cities that draw the majority of investments, re-opening the door would provide the real estate sector with the boost that might be desperately needed at the time. In order to clear the way of recovery after the economy is back on its track, the experts and authorities in the sector suggest that Portugal should not block its biggest investment channel in this time of uncertainty and ambiguity. The Portuguese government also recognizes the threat and plans to suspend the changes. Realizing that the effort to gain balance in investments might cut the biggest vein of income of the program in a period that requires more income than it ever did, Portuguese authorities consider postponing the agreed-upon changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program.