Portugal Scraps Golden Visas To Combat Housing Crisis

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Lisbon: Portugal on Thursday adopted a number of measures to end property speculation as the country faces an acute housing
crisis, including the end of golden visas for wealthy foreign investors.

"The right to housing
is absolutely essential... and my duty is to ensure that right is guaranteed," said the Socialist Prime Minister
Antonio Costa, at a cabinet meeting.

The housing
plan, first presented by Costa in February, was developed through a public consultation before being adopted at the Thursday meeting.

The end of golden visas, residency permits given to wealthy foreign investors, is a key pillar of the plan.

"Nothing justifies the special regime of golden visas," said Costa who suggested their economic impact was limited.

In a little over ten years, Portugal has taken revenue of close to 6.8 billion euros ($7.4 billion) from the scheme.

More than 11,000 residency permits were given to individuals who paid at least 500,000 euros for a home, invested at least one million euros in the economy, or created at least ten jobs.

Portugal started issuing the permits at the end of 2012, when it was slapped with tight financial
restrictions by Brussels and sought new sources of foreign investment.

The housing
plan will now be debated by parliament where the Socialists have a majority.

There were small protests against the measures in several areas which are popular with foreign tourists.

The measures "will drive a number of families into unemployment", said Lisbon's mayor Carlos Moedas, who joined the protesters
in the Portuguese capital.


The Peninsula

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