Portugal’s golden visa gains popularity in Hong Kong

14 Aug 2019

Property in Portugal is increasingly in demand by Hongkongers, as more investors and financially well-off nationals seek a second place of residency following instability back home, the South China Morning Post reports. 

Lisbon’s gold visa scheme is continuously gaining popularity. List Sotheby’s International Realty, Hong Kong, revealed that since being introduced in 2012, it has brought in 7,500 applicants and contributed 4.6 billion euros in investment. 

Binoche Chan, chief operating officer at List Sotheby’s, said: “We have seen more inquiries about Portugal properties from Hong Kong buyers in the past few months. Many see Portuguese residency an alternative option in Europe. The entry requirements are relatively low against other popular destinations.”

The golden visa programme enables applicants to live, work and study in Portugal and enjoy traveling to 26 countries in Schengen area without the need of a visa, ultimately granting them with legal residence. Certain criteria must first be met, such as acquiring €350,000 worth of property. 

David Lesperance, managing partner at Lesperance & Associates, said: “In 2019, more citizenship inquiries are coming from Hong Kong than any other Asian territory, including mainland China. In Hong Kong, most high net worth individuals are only now deciding they need a backup plan and an overseas residency, in case they need to leave the city in a hurry.

“For some, Europe is an obvious destination. Portugal is, along with Greece, the easiest and cheapest way to obtain permanent residency in Europe,” he went on to say. 

The golden visa programme reeled in a total of US$300.2 million in investment from Hongkongers and mainland Chinese, property portal Juwai.com revealed. 

“Nine out of 10 of those dollars went into real estate. Since the programme’s inception, Chinese nationals have taken 60 per cent of all visas issued. Chinese have invested an estimated US$2.8 billion through the golden visa programme,” said Georg Chmiel, executive chairman at Juwai.

The April to June quarter saw demand from China and Hong Kong soar by 40.4% from a year ago, jumping to the highest level since 2016. 

Chmiel went on to say: “Portugal is not a top 10 country for Chinese buyers, but for those seeking a golden visa, it is among the top three.”