IAS Information Note on the European Parliament – draft legislative initiative on Golden Visa Programs

February 27, 2022

Dear Sirs/Madams,

Following the recent media coverage regarding the draft legislative initiative and report on Golden Visa Programs, IAS would like to inform its investors that the draft is an initiative by a single MEP, the Dutch liberal Sophia in ‘t Veld and  is still in an early stage. It.

Furthermore, the actual content of the draft legislative initiative and report is very different from the political parties’ recent public statements on this matter, and contrary to what the left parties across Europe have been arguing, the document does not mention the abolition of the Golden Visa Programs.

The draft legislative initiative approved by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament targets, specifically, the citizenship acquisition through “golden passports” described as “objectionable from an ethical, legal and economic point of view” and posing “several serious security risks”, linked to tax evasion and money laundering.

In Portugal, the Golden Visa Program has been in place for ten years, providing residence permits to foreign investors and granting access to the citizenship after five years of residency, unlike countries such as Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria – that grant immediate citizenship.

That said, Residence Permits by Investment, as operated in Portugal, are not targeted in the same way as the “golden passports”. The draft legislative initiative sets a distinction between the two regimes, calling for action against the citizenship by investment.

In what Residence Permits are concerned, the Committee asks for harmonized EU rules to define standards and strengthen the fight against economic crimes. It recommends, namely, that the investments need to add value and contribute to the economy, which corresponds exactly to the purpose of the Portuguese Golden Visa program.

The draft legislative initiative will be discussed in plenary, from March 7th to 10th and, if approved, it will not automatically become law. The European Commission and Council will still have to decide if they want to move forward and prepare a legislative proposal or, on the contrary, only justify their decision not to do so.

These two top bodies of the European Union, with legislative and executive powers, have not yet pronounced on the subject.

Likewise, IAS believe that this draft legislative initiative, even if approved, will not have an heavy impact on the Residency Permit by Investment under the current Portuguese program.

IAS will keep all the investors updated on any developments on this matter.

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