Golden opportunity

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In January 2017, Portugal granted a total of 221 special residence permits – known as Golden Visas – to foreign residents, bringing the total number of permits granted since the special residence programme was created in 2012 to 4,423, according to data provided by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).
Of these, some 71.3 per cent were granted to Chinese nationals – a total of 3,154 visas -followed by Brazilian and Russian nationals, the second and third largest nationality groups granted Golden Visas, at 282 and 159, respectively.
The Golden Visa was created by the Portuguese Government as a way of attracting investment and creating employment, allowing citizens from outside the European Union to have temporary Portuguese residence permits.
Non-residents wanting to apply for a Golden Visa can obtain it by transferring capital equal to or exceeding 1 million euros (US$1.14 million / MOP9.12 million), creating at least 10 job positions, or purchasing real estate property valued at or over 500,000 euros.
According to the SEF, since its creation the investment generated by the visa scheme has reached 2.71 billion euros, of which 2.44 billion euros were obtained through real estate purchases and 266 million euros through capital transfers.
Unsurprisingly, real estate was the main avenue adopted for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal, with 4,171 Golden visas granted for real estate purchases, 246 for capital transfer, and six for job creation.
“The real estate investments are good [and] the weather factor is very important; the Chinese have a centennial connection to Portugal through Macau and this is a nation that remains calm, everything is very tranquil,” the President of the Association of Chinese Businessmen in Portugal (AECP), Huang Yongjie, told Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias.