Here’s how many South Africans are moving to Portugal – and the changes for Golden Visas

South Africans considering moving to Portugal under a Golden Visa program will face increased pressure as the country has made access increasingly difficult.

Originally created in 2012, the Golden Visa is issued to third-country nationals who have made a specific investment in the country. Investors can obtain Portuguese citizenship by residence by absence and obtain EU citizenship after obtaining temporary resident status for five years.

Data from Sable International shows that South Africa is the fourth most popular country for Golden Visa applicants to come from, with over 416 Golden Visas issued to South African investors by the end of 2021 – excluding accompanying families.

The program was last updated on January 1, 2022, with the Portuguese government increasing visa fees and limiting travel locations:

  • The Investment Fund option increased from €350,000 to €500,000 (R8.4 million);
  • Capital transfer option increased from €1m to €1.5m (R25m);
  • Real estate investment for residential purposes will be limited to the interior areas of the country as well as the islands of Madeira and the Azores;
  • Urban areas, such as Lisbon and Porto, will be available to buy commercial and tourist properties.

crackdown on golden visas

The European Union has also raised concerns about ‘citizenship by investment’ (CBI) schemes, under which third-country nationals obtain citizenship rights in exchange for a sum of money, undermining the essence of EU citizenship.

In a March 2022 meeting, the European Parliament said granting citizenship posed potential security risks, citing Russia’s war in Ukraine and the fact that many Russian oligarchs hold dual citizenship. European.

He added that this practice, which is common in countries such as Portugal, Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus, is a form of ‘free-riding’, as Member States sell what was never intended to become a merchandise.

Noting the lesser risks posed by “residency by investment” (RBI) schemes, referred to as rules to help combat money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, including:

  • Rigorous background checks (also on applicants’ family members and funding sources), mandatory checks against EU databases and verification procedures in third countries;
  • Reporting obligations for member states, including a “notice and consult” system to allow other member states to object; and
  • Requirements of minimum physical residence (for applicants) and active involvement, quality, added value and contribution to the economy (for their investments).

Read: The ‘real’ cost of being middle class in South Africa

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