Since inception, more than 19,000 new “golden” residents have been approved for Golden Visas in Portugal. Only 387 (2 out of every 100 applications) were turned down despite warnings from the UN and the European Commission. Allegations abound that these Portuguese entry visas facilitate money laundering and tax evasion as well as jeopardize the security of the EU. The European Parliament will vote on a proposal to abolish such schemes throughout the member states.
While the European Commission (EC) defends the end of “Golden Visas”, Portugal contends that the programme will go on. In recent years, the scheme has served as a gateway for millions of euros into the national real estate market in exchange for permanent residency visas for high net worth foreign investors. In light of the controversy, the government has announced plans to alter legislation to improve transparency as called for by the European Parliament.