31 March 2023
Yesterday, PM António Costa made an announcement regarding the proposal “Mais Habitação” that will be submitted to the Parliament within the next few days.
Despite the wording and a few changes in the message, the situation remains the same as was presented on February 16th, 2023. In that sense, the government continues to manifest its intention to end the Golden Visa program. However, this time around, the PM clearly stated that the decision on this matter should be taken by the Parliament and by The President of the Republic.
On a related matter, one of the proposals presented by the PM mentioned the possibility of converting the current applications in the program to general immigration law – since the GV program is deemed as a special law. Such a position also aligns with the Government’s insistence on attributing a retroactive effect to this matter. Regarding this topic, and after a careful analysis within our team, pairs, and academic professors of Law, we believe that it will not be possible to sustain since it shows clear violations of constitutional principles, namely the principle of Trust in the State.
Despite the above-mentioned intentions, and as explained in our previous articles, the Government has no legislative power regarding this matter, since the Parliament is the only entity that can approve and introduce the changes that the government wants to put into action. This means that the current version of the immigration law allowing GV investors is still in force and was not changed. SEF is clearly complying with applicable law since it is accepting and processing new applications normally. Moreover, we confirmed directly with SEF yesterday, and no instructions were received to close the ARI portal or interrupt or condition the acceptance of the normal flow of submissions. Moreover, such instructions can only be lawfully given upon a duly approved law by the Parliament and the President of the Republic.
As a final note, we would like to address some speculations that we have been receiving regarding applications submitted after February 16th2023. It came to our knowledge that a rumor has been spread mentioning that applications submitted after the D date have yet to be granted a processing number/application number. At IAS, we can assure all investors that we verified our clients that have been submitted after that date and all applications have a processing number/application number, and their applications are being processed normally.
The analysis included above is always preliminary and subject to be complemented by the analysis of the draft of the law presented yesterday.
Finally, we do not anticipate that there will be any discussions on this matter in Parliament before the last week of April, taking into consideration the current schedule the Parliament presented on Thursday.
We will continue to monitor the situation as closely as possible, keeping investors and partners informed of any developments while remaining available for any clarifications needed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.