Portugal is considering giving up its Golden Visa scheme aimed at attracting wealthy investors, because it has “fulfilled its function”.
Prime Minister António Costa said that several programmes currently under reevaluation include the Golden Visa scheme, “which has probably already fulfilled its function and for which there might at this point no longer be any justification .”
The scheme, which was launched in 2012, grants investors from non-European Union (EU) countries Portuguese residency if they invest more than 280,000 euros in real estate, or at least 250,000 euros in contributions in the arts.
It is a popular scheme among investors from countries like the US, China and Australia, who with residence get access to EU visas and can buy property.
Portugal has already temporarily halted the scheme for Russian citizens following the invasion in Ukraine.
Portugal also came under fire when it was revealed that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich received Portuguese citizenship last year by claiming that he was a descendant of Sephardic Jews. A rabbi who helped the billionaire obtain his Portuguese citizenship is being investigated.
The European Commission and European Parliament have long criticised Golden Visa and passport schemes as it gives a fast-track route to EU citizenship not on merit but based on purely financial reasons.
“Investor citizenship schemes undermine the essence of EU citizenship and have implications for the Union as a whole,” the Commission said when launching a case against Maltese passport schemes earlier this year.
Portugal does not give citizenship upon investment, but once a person has residence they have the right to travel freely within the EU as long as they spend at least seven days a year in the country.