Portugal has been one of the European countries where Chinese people with some capital have been able to relocate. For an investment of 350,000 euros, those who applied to the “golden visa” program were able to move to the sunny country in the Iberian peninsula. According to Bloomberg news, the amount of money arriving to Portugal because of this type of visas reached $1 billion annually at its peak in 2014.
Migration consultancy firm Henley & Partners reports that about 10,000 high-net-worth residents are seeking to pull $48 billion from China this year. Many have been forced to consider other options abroad as the country’s Covid-Zero policy has had an effect on economic growth. Official data show that Portugal has delivered about 10,000 investment visas since 2012, mostly to Chinese citizens.
A lot of Chinese investors made investments after the golden visa program and started working with the country.Bernardo Mendia, secretary general of the Portugal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry
In recent years, the EU has made strong statements against residence and citizenship-by-investment programs. Those programs are currently offered in some form by 10 member states, with Cyprus and Malta already scrapping their golden passport initiatives after coming under scrutiny from the bloc, Bloomberg news reports. In the case of Portugal, applicants must have a face-to-face interview, which in the case of China has proved to be a stumbling block due to the country’s strict Covid travel restrictions.
The effect of China’s travel restrictions on Portugal has been twofold: wealthy Chinese people have to find other options in terms of potential relocation, while real estate brokers in Portugal have seen this form of reliable foreign investment getting smaller and smaller. According to data from Portugal’s Immigration and Borders Service and Investment Migration Insider just 16% of successful applicants are Chinese so far this year. On the other hand, it has drawn more attention from US investors as the country’s policies are increasingly presenting China as a competitor.
Portugal ranked 4th in the 2018 Global Peace Index as one of the most peaceful nations in the world (Italy ranks 38th, France 61st and Spain 30th). Portugal is a country where mutual respect reigns and its people are renowned for their warmth and hospitality.
The Portuguese Golden Visa is an investment-based visa that allows the country to raise foreign capital to help stimulate the economy and develop less established urban areas. The program offers a lot of flexibility, which makes the process much less complicated for the investor.
There are a few options. One allows the investor to purchase a number of properties. In another option of the program, €280,000 – €500,000 can be invested to purchase a Portuguese property. The limits vary depending on the location and age of the property.
New real estate developments in prime locations such as Lisbon will fall under the minimum investment of €500,000 to be able to apply. It’s the lowest investment requirement in Europe after Greece. Bloomberg reports that as of this year, authorities in Portugal have restricted the golden visa program in Lisbon, Porto and high-density coastal areas, pushing investment to the less-developed countryside.