Portuguese American Journal

Golden Visa | Program enters turbulent waters on the Azores and Madeira – Portugal

By Marla Barret

In the azure embrace of the Atlantic, Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, a once-lustrous gem in the country’s economic crown, embarked on a turbulent journey that left its mark on the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira.The story began with optimism, as the “More Housing” bill sought to usher in changes to the Golden Visa Program. Assurances echoed through the cobblestone streets that the alterations would not ruffle the feathers of property values, with a forecasted 8.7% increase in home prices for the upcoming year, especially in the thriving hubs of Lisbon and the Algarve.The Property Market Index painted a vivid picture of prosperity, citing a 6.5% average increase in property prices across the country. In the Algarve, values surged by more than 15%, with Quinta do Lago crowned as the top property hot spot, boasting a remarkable 28% increase in prices since 2020.According to SchengenVisaInfo.com: Golden Visa holders, particularly from China, Brazil, the United States, Turkey, and South Africa, were the lifeblood of this economic resurgence, injecting nearly €7.2 billion into Portugal’s coffers since the program’s inception in 2012.However, the tide took a turn. The “More Housing” program, ushered in by Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, brought about changes that sent shockwaves through the nation. The real estate investment options were abolished, leaving a void in a program that had once been a beacon for affluent investors seeking residence through property acquisition.The news reached the far reaches of the Atlantic, where the President of the Government of the Azores, José Manuel Bolieiro, condemned the decision. In a poignant expression of dissent, Bolieiro emphasized the economic value of golden visas for the autonomous regions, Azores and Madeira, echoing concerns that resonated with President Miguel Albuquerque in Madeira.Their united stance against the decision was clear, with Bolieiro expressing dissatisfaction at the unilateral termination of the program. He argued for exceptions, citing the economic significance of golden visas for the archipelagos, a sentiment echoed by Albuquerque.As the political drama unfolded, it became evident that Madeira would not yield to the changes. President Albuquerque deemed the alterations “counterproductive” and emphasized that they defrauded investor confidence while making Local Accommodation a scapegoat for housing issues.A beacon of hope shone amidst the uncertainty, as a Portugal News report revealed over 21,000 pending applications for the Residence Permit for Investment, showcasing the enduring allure of the Golden Visa Program despite its impending demise.In the Atlantic’s embrace, Azores and Madeira stood firm against the current, unwilling to let go of a program that had brought economic vitality to their shores. The Golden Visa Odyssey in Portugal’s Atlantic havens continued its conclusion yet to be written in the pages of economic history.

Submitted by Marla Barret second citizenship and real estate adviser.

Follow Us

facebook twitter