Spain may double or halt Golden Visa investments

Spain is considering the abolition of its Golden Visa Program, following a proposal by the left-wing Mas Pais party. The party leader, Ingio Errejon, announced on Monday that he had reached a preliminary agreement with the Social Security Ministry on the matter. The scheme permits non-EU nationals to acquire residency in Spain if they invest a minimum of €500,000. Errejon argued that the scheme has caused a surge in housing prices and has led to the displacement of local populations without creating new jobs.

The Spanish government launched the Golden Visa Program in 2013, granting residency to applicants who meet the necessary requirements and make significant investments. This offered visa-free access to the Schengen Zone and a path to permanent residency, among other benefits. Until November 2022, nearly 5,000 permits were issued under the scheme, with Chinese investors benefiting the most, receiving 45% of the total visas issued.

The government is considering either increasing the minimum investment amount required for the Golden Visa Program or abolishing the scheme entirely, as proposed by Mas Pais. Errejon stressed that Spanish citizenship cannot be bought, and that the program encourages speculation in housing prices in the country. He believes that the scheme does not benefit the national economy and that it expels local populations.

Golden Visa programs in several European countries have been criticised for their involvement in several illegal affairs, leading to their termination. Portugal announced earlier this year that it was ending its Golden Visa Program, while Ireland made the decision to abolish the Residency by Investment scheme.

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