Following a ministerial meeting held on 16 February 2023, the Portuguese Government presented a package of measures to respond to various concerns within the scope of the housing policy in Portugal. In this context, the measure of apparently ending the Portugal Golden Visa program was grafted. The following update on 14 April provides the most up-to-date information on the topic.
14 April Update: Final Proposal on the Golden Visa Ending RevealedOn 14 April, following the various announcements and public discussion of the future of the Golden Visa regime, the final proposal of the Government was revealed, which will now be subject to discussion in Parliament. Put simply, the final proposal states the following:
- The new law will not apply retroactively to people who have already been granted a Golden Visa.
- The stay requirement rule of 7-day-per-year will remain the same.
- People who have applied for a Golden Visa but have not yet received it are protected.
- The renewed visas will have the same flexibility as the ARI, even though they will be reframed under the D2 Visa.
- The law will go into effect when published in the official journal.
Further DetailsThe main news is that in its final version, the government overturns any possibility of retroactivity of this law, guaranteeing that all requests submitted until the entry into force of the new law will be met in accordance with the rules still in force. Alongside this, it guarantees that application renewals are obtained under the law that is still in force today. While they provide for the reframing of this visa into a different type of visa, the stay requirement of an average of 7 days a year will remain the same. The final proposal also guarantees that family reunification requests associated with Golden Visa are duly protected. The proposal indicates that the future law will come into force the day after its publication, with no grace period foreseen for the revocation of the Golden Visa in Portugal. This is a subject that may still be debated and changed, but for now, it is reasonable to assume that this is the last call for a Golden Visa.
Applications remain valid until the new law comes into forceOn 14 April, the Portuguese government released the proposal for the new law, which states that Golden Visa applications that are submitted until the date when the new law comes into force will remain valid and will be processed under the current regime with no retroactive effects. This includes the minimum stay requirement of staying in the country for seven days a year, on average. "On the date on which this law enters into force, any pending applications for the residence permit for investment shall remain valid. For the permit renewals, applicants shall comply with a minimum stay, continuous or not, of seven days during the initial year and fourteen days during the subsequent two-year periods." — Government Law Proposal, p.70
The Portugal Golden Visa is to remain open until at least the end of JuneThe Parliament has scheduled the discussions concerning the law proposal to take place on 19 May, later than what was first expected. Considering the legislative process and the extent and complexity of the issues at stake, we estimate that the procedure will not be completed before the end of June. Global Citizen Solutions will give a balanced view on all future updates, monitoring the progress daily, and will update our timeline and expectations continuously.
The legislative process for the new law to come into force
- Parliamentary discussion: There will be a general discussion of the law proposal in the Parliament plenary session.
- Committee Review: The relevant committees will review and examine the proposal and hear from experts and stakeholders.
- Voting in Parliament: Parliament can propose amendments, and the proposed law will be debated and voted upon.
- President Ratification: The President can ratify or veto on political grounds, which means the proposal is sent back to the Parliament to be reassessed accordingly or sent to the Constitutional Court for a technical assessment of compliance with the Constitution.
- Constitutional Court Validation: If the Constitutional Court is called upon to rule, it will do so on legal provisions that have raised doubts in the President. The deadline for this analysis is 25 days. Depending on the contents of the Court's formal announcement, the President can send the proposal back to Parliament to be revised with a constitutionality veto or enforce it and, therefore, send it for publication.
- Official Publishing in the Diario: The law will enter into force after publication in the exact terms in which it is foreseen in its vacatio legis, that is, the period that the law itself determines it to enter into force.
30 March Update on the Portugal Golden VisaOn 30 March 2023, at a press conference held by the council of ministers/ Ministerial Council, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, announced the government’s final position regarding the Housing Package Policy and the future of the Golden Visa.
Summary of the press conference on 30 MarchWithout prejudice to a more in-depth analysis, namely of any document supporting these decisions now announced. 1. Authorizations granted
- Upon renewal, authorizations will be granted based on existing requirements but will be reframed in a traditional type of visa, as opposed to the Golden Visa.
- It remains unclear what the consequences of this will be, but it is indicated that the reduced period of stay of seven days per year may be at stake, given that this advantage of the Golden Visa program does not exist in traditional visa types.
- Pending process will be assessed according to the general regime for granting a visa instead of in accordance with the Golden Visa program. It is not yet known which pending cases that the government intends to apply this measure.
- The government’s reasoning behind bringing the Golden Visa program to a close is that it is no longer justifiable to continue the scheme. Investors will, eventually, be redirected to traditional visas.
- The practicalities of the measures were not clearly defined, so we are still in a phase of speculation. However disruptive these measures are – and conflicting with various principles that shape the Portuguese legal system and Constitution – we anticipate a lengthy process in the coming months. From the discussion in Parliament, approval to becoming law – and it will unlikely succeed – we cannot ignore that there is a negative effect which shakes investors' confidence.