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Posted by portugalpress on October 09, 2018

They’ve been criticised for all kinds of purported shortcomings, but Portugal’s Golden Visa programme has brought almost €4 billion into the country since it was launched six years ago - almost all of it being invested in property.

In total, 6,500 visas have been awarded - most of them to Chinese (3,936) followed by Brazilians (581), South Africans (259), Turkish citizens (236) and Russians (227).

Only 345 visas were awarded for the transfer of capital (amounts of above €1 million) and just 12 for the creation of at least 10 jobs.

The regime has undergone a number of tweaks since 2012, but reports in the press suggest the newer categories designed to attract foreign investment (from artists, IT companies and start-ups) have yet to gain traction.

What does appear to be happening however is an easing off of interest from China, Brazil, South Africa and Russia this year, while Turkish investment increased by 148% between January and August.

Reports have concentrated on the Chinese slowdown of 24% during this period - though it still translated into €194 million flooding Portugal’s way - but much larger percentages have been registered with regard to South Africa and Russia.

Russia, for instance has seen a falling off of business compared to the year before of 202%, South Africa by 47% and Brazil by 41%.

Controversy surrounding the regime has been fairly constant since its launch back in the days of a centre-right government navigating financial crisis.

Socialist MEP Ana Gomes claimed right at the beginning that the scheme was “a race to the bottom” that would bring all kinds of risks with it, particularly corruption - and even this year she has dubbed it the “prostitution of European citizens”, decrying the fact that however hard she tries, she has failed to get a list of names of people awarded these coveted passports into Europe’s Schengen space.

Gomes reasoning is that if she was given access, she would find “a series of people with criminal records in their own country who haven’t been subject to any searches by anyone in Portugal”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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