20 Feb 2019
Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ scheme is attracting people in the Middle East, according to Eurico Dias, Portugal’s secretary of state for internationalisation.
The most common applications have originated from Pakistan, India, Egypt and the UAE. Thus far, there have been over 6,000 visas granted – most of which to those from China and the Middle East.
"We have people living in the UAE but also in Pakistan and India and other countries in this region interested. China and the Middle East in particular," Mr Dias said.
Mr Dias spoke of how advantageous the golden visa scheme has been for Portugal.
Similar schemes are found in twenty EU countries. Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria allow the purchase of passports for non-EU citizens. Other countries, one of which being Portugal, grant residency which can lead to citizenship. Portugal’s golden visa scheme may grant permanent residency to foreign nationals if they invest €500,000 in property, €1m in the economy, or create a business employing at least 10 people.
The scheme has brought Portugal about €4 billion in investment since being set up in 2012.
The EU Commission cautioned member states in January, urging them to impose stricter checks on the schemes in order to avoid concerns surrounding money-laundering and tax evasion.
In response to this, Mr. Dias emphasised on the transparency the Portuguese scheme offers.
“All money related to laundering or that could have come from a criminal source - that money is not welcome in Portugal,” he said.