Changes to the Golden Visa Program Regarding Home Purchases Are Rejected by Madeira's President

July 12, 2023
20 major countries that offer citizenship and residence by investmentPrime Minister Antonio Costa recently made revisions to Portugal's Golden Visa program, but President of the Autonomous Region of Madeira Miguel Albuquerque has deemed them "counterproductive." In addition to contesting the new rules that Costa plans to impose, Albuquerque said that the project makes Local Accommodation a meaningless scapegoat for housing problems, stressing that it defrauds investors’ confidence. Albuquerque’s comments mean that Madeira will not apply the measures projected by the government of Portugal under the “More Housing” project announced previously as part of the efforts to tackle the housing crisis. The leader of Madeira said that the abolishment of the Residency by Investment Scheme, also known as Golden Visa, just wants to resolve real estate speculation in Lisbon and Porto, emphasising that not only does it make no sense to extend it to Madeira but it if does, it has no potential to devastate local finance. “The Golden Visa program has brought many high-income foreign residents to Madeira, with obvious benefits for the local economy and very significant direct positive effects in sectors such as real estate and construction. In 2022 alone, more than 600 million euros were received this way. You can’t joke about something so serious,” Albuquerque told Diário de Notícias. Besides, he considered that it is counterproductive to attack international investment aimed at urban rehabilitation, particularly when there is hardly a movement to replace it, thus putting more housing on the market. On February 16 this year, authorities in Portugal confirmed that the Residency by Investment scheme would be terminated after remaining effective for about ten years. Since October 2012, the Golden Visa scheme has enabled wealthy foreign nationals to acquire residency in Portugal after meeting specific conditions and making a financial contribution to this country. However, in spite of Portugal’s example, authorities in Madeira didn’t take a similar step, with the President of the Autonomous Region stressing that the territory would not follow the steps of Portugal. In a previous interview for the Diario de Noticias in March this year, soon after the termination of Portugal’s Residency by Investment scheme, Albuquerque confirmed that Madeira’s Golden Visa Program would remain effective. “It is bad for the national economy. Nothing justifies Madeira being covered by this set of measures that are fundamentally aimed at Lisbon as well as Porto,” he noted. Besides confirming that the territory would continue to issue golden visas for wealthy foreign investors, Albuquerque stressed that the scheme brought significant contributions to the country’s economy.

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