The president of the Autonomous Region of Madeira Miguel Albuquerque is contesting the rules that the Prime Minister António Costa wants to impose to end the golden visa scheme in Portugal.
1. Harassing investors
The project presented by Costa’s government is “counterproductive”, makes Local Accommodation a “meaningless scapegoat” for housing problems and “defrauds investors’ confidence”, argued Albuquerque, who defends that the Portuguese government’s decision will harass investors.
Hanging to these arguments, Albuquerque is refusing to apply the measures designed by the Portuguese government under the ‘More Housing’, which was announced on 16 February and includes the abolition of the golden visa program.
“The end of the golden visa program just wants to resolve real estate speculation in Porto and Lisbon,” said the Madeiran leader, stating that not only does it make no sense to extend it to Madeira but, if it does, it has the potential to devastate local finance.
2. Housing crisis
One of the main causes of the housing crisis in Portugal is the high demand for housing, which has been driven by factors such as population growth, urbanization, and an influx of foreign investors. At the same time, the supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with demand, due to factors such as a lack of investment in social housing, slow construction rates, and restrictions on short-term rentals, which have led to a scarcity of available rental units.
“The [golden visa] program has brought many high-income foreign residents to Madeira, with obvious benefits for the local economy and very significant direct positive effects in sectors such as real estate and construction. In 2022 alone, more than 600 million euros were received this way. You can’t joke about something so serious”, Albuquerque told Diário de Notícias.
It is counterproductive to attack foreign investment aimed at urban rehabilitation, especially when there is hardly a movement to replace it, putting more housing on the market.Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Autonomous Region of Madeira
3. Youth mostly affected
Despite rejecting these axes of the ‘More Housing’ package, the leader of Madeira recognizes that there is a housing crisis, especially affecting young people, who “have to be supported by the State”. A solution offered by the regional leader is for the government to build and provide “public assets in pleasant places, not in ghettos” for the youth to be able to start off life in a less complicated way.
Among others, “corporate housing” solutions and targeted support are another part of Albuquerque’s recipe. “That’s what we’ve been doing successfully in Madeira. We have 128 million euros from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) on the field for that.”