Portugal has registered an increasing number of Chinese citizens who are rushing to ‘buy’ citizenship in Portugal, through the Golden Visa Scheme, before the government puts the program to an end.
Investors from China are considering Lisbon and Porto as appropriate investment locations before both cities are removed from the passport for cash scheme, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“A total of €37 million (S$58.90 million) have been invested in Portugal from Chinese nationals, during the second quarter of this year, “which is twice their spending in all of 2019,” director of Maia International Properties, Luiz Felipe Maia pointed out.
Between January and September, inquiries by investors from China marked a 176 per cent increase.
Lisbon and Porto have been brought into the spotlight, after Portugal’s announcement that it would remove both cities from the Golden Visa program, from the beginning of the next year.
“The decision created a wave of demand for urgent property acquisition from Chinese buyers,” the director of Maia International Properties stressed.
He added that the imminent exclusion of both cities had rushed persons “who were previously holding back purchases because of the COVID-19 situation.”
According to the statistics published in September by Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), a 43 per cent decrease was marked in July, year-on-year, on Portugal’s passport for cash scheme funds brought to the country. The figures observed a 37 per cent decrease compared to June.
During July, €56,005,967.76 were collected by the investment resulting from the granting of Residence Authorization for Investment (ARI). The figures marked a 42.9 per cent decline compared to the same period one year earlier.
Portugal’s Golden visa scheme is among the most popular ones in European countries, which often has been criticized for the way that it grants citizenship to internationals.
Yet, Portugal is not the only country criticized for running its citizenship by investment scheme. The European Union Commission previously urged Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta to stop the Golden Visa program, which often has been claimed to be a gateway to Europe for money laundering and other illegal actions.
Earlier this month, SchengenVisainfo.com reported that a large number of China’s citizens claimed that they have been frauded by Greece’s Citizenship by Investment scheme, even though Greece issued 5,504 Golden Visas for citizens of China from 2014, until May 2020.