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As announced on March 30th, 2023, in the press conference held by the PM, the Government has finally delivered to the Parliament the proposed amendments to the immigration law, which are part of the proposal +Habitação.
The document submitted to the Parliament, which became available last night, has some interesting points. As expected, the Government maintained its position regarding the end of the Golden Visa program. However, there are a few substantial changes in the wording used compared to the initial version shared in the presentation on February 16th, 2023. From IAS’s side, we believe it is worth taking note of the following points:
i) RENEWALS AND CONVERSION INTO D2 RESIDENCY – In the first document presented by the Government, still in February, it was mentioned that the possibility of renewals for holders of investments in real estate options would be dependent on the rental of the property for housing purposes. However, this measure does not appear in the document presented to Parliament on April 14th. It is evident in the proposal that renewals will be admitted on the same terms as have been so far. Despite the mandatory conversion of the application into the Entrepreneurs Residency Permit (D2 visa), they will be granted an exception regarding the minimum mandatory stay in Portugal, namely the applicants will be asked for a minimum of 7 days in the first year of residency and 14 days in the subsequent periods of two years of residency. The minimum stay should be proved in the same way as it has been until the present date.
ii) INCLUSION OF SUBMISSIONS AFTER FEBRUARY 16TH – Also, there is no mention of the potential retroactive effects previously announced. Not only for the already submitted applications since February 16th but also for all the applications submitted until the law proposed becomes into force. The measure applies not only to Investors but also to their relatives applying under family reunification. We believe that the Government took sense and dropped this measure after the massive public message, including the one from the President of the Republic, showing the unconstitutionality of such action.
iii) PERMANENT RESIDENCY – Applicants can keep applying for permanent residence and keep their minimum stay in the same terms as predicted for the Golden Visa.
IV) INVESTMENTS FOR CULTURAL MATTERS – Applications for Investments under artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of cultural heritage will still be admitted. Regarding this topic, it is possible that during the discussion in the Parliament, other investment options will also be included as still allowed.
V) IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW LAW – According to the document presented, the law related to the end of the Golden Visa regime is predicted to be implemented the next day after publication. However, a notice period may be introduced to the proposal during Parliament discussions.
Despite the intentions mentioned above, and as explained in our previous articles, we do not anticipate that there will be any discussions on this matter in Parliament before the beginning of May, taking into consideration the available agenda of the Parliament. Also, the entire Legislative process is expected to take a minimum of 2 months.
In any case, and even with a fair proposal as the one presented, we will keep working in our Investor’s best interests, namely with the request for a transition period between the publishing of the law and implementation. Nonetheless, it is essential to mention that now is the moment to invest.
As a final note, it is also of reference that the opposition party has already delivered to the Parliament a proposal for keeping the Golden Visa Regime in the Administrative Area of the Madeira Archipelago. Therefore, it is expected that the Azores Area will also request an exception.
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.