Portugal opens its doors to non-EU residents.
On October 9 2012 a series of new laws will come into effect in Portugal. One of their main effects is to open the possibility of non-EU citizens acquiring the right to live in Portugal on the basis of their making an investment in the country of ?500,000.
In passing this law, Portugal is joining a growing number of countries that are actively encouraging new and wealthy residents. They include the US, Cyprus and several Central and South American countries. The indications are that this list will grow, probably substantially.
Why has Portugal made this decision? For many years the EU has had a very strict policy towards non-EU citizens who want to live in the EU. But times have changed. We’re all now short of money and look with envy at the piles of cash available in places such as China, India, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Brazil. Permitting citizens of such countries to settle on the basis of a simple cash investment looks very attractive.
Of course, it has a lot of knock-on consequences. There has been much comment on the Cypriot Permanent Residents’ Permit and not a few raised eyebrows at some of the people who have been applying for these permits. Of course, there are an awful lot of people around who have a ?500,000 spare cash to invest. Some of them are not very nice.
The attractions of such a permit go far beyond the ability to live in the sunshine in Cyprus, Portugal or Florida. Being resident in one EU country opens up the whole of the EU as a possible area of activity for you and being resident in the US has similar effects in the Americas. Add to that the fact that, in Cyprus at least, such residents are taxed on a very generous basis and the ability, as an EU resident, to get access to EU higher education for your children and it is not difficult to understand why such permits are likely to be very popular.
The real question is whether the long term effects are going to prove popular and whether they’re going to be worth the cash generated by the investment.