Demand for the Portuguese residency programmes surges in the Middle East

The rise of second passports in the Middle East continues. In light of the coronavirus pandemic we have observed a significant increase in residency and citizenship programme applications from both GCC nationals and expats in the region, with a particular uptick in interest in the Portugual’s Golden Visa Residency Permit (GVRP) programme.

The GVRP, which offers residency in return for investment, has become an increasing popular investment opportunity due to it’s diverse range of investment options. Another significant factor in this rise in interest has been the Portuguese government’s effective response to the pandemic, which has resulted in a relatively low number of cases.

In May, Portugal saw a record number of applicants for its Golden Visa, which offers residency in return for investment. A total of 270 applicants injected €146.2 million (USD175 million) into the Portuguese economy in return for a permit. Many of these clients were from the Middle East region. Overall, the scheme has generated about €4 billion in investment for Portugal since it was first set up in 2012.

The GVRP programme offers qualifying non-European investors and their family full rights to live, work and study in Portugal with an average minimum stay requirement of only seven days per year. It also provides visa free access throughout the Schengen zone and, after five years, the right to apply for permanent residency or citizenship. A second citizenship offers security, stability and freedom and can also offer the possibility of permanent citizenship for future generations.

With a Sovereign office in Portugal, our colleagues can directly assist in determining the most suitable overall solution for your personal requirements. We will find the most suitable option for clients according to their circumstances and personal preferences, and we offer comprehensive solutions for all options.

Whilst the standard investment option is to invest a minimum of €500,000 in a property, many of our clients prefer the simplicity and lower cost of the following three options:

1. Investing In Renovated Property This has become a very popular property investment option available to international investors and their families because it provides the following benefits:

  • A minimum qualifying investment requirement of €350,000;
  • All renovations are undertaken by the developers and are included within the cost;
  • Full property rental management services;
  • A choice of guaranteed or flexible investment returns;
  • Reduced minimum investment of €280,000 if the property is located in a low-density area.

2. Portugal Regulated Investment Fund
This is the most cost and tax efficient investment option available to international investors and their families because it provides the following benefits:

  • A minimum qualifying investment requirement of €352,500;
  • Targeting a yield of 5% to 6% per annum;
  • Highly experienced regulated investment managers;
  • 0% tax applicable on the purchase or sale of units;
  • 0% income tax for non-tax residents and only 10% for tax residents.

3. Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Business Startup
In addition to the GVRP, the Portuguese authorities offer the Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) regime to attract people looking to start an innovative business in Portugal and gain residency. This option is perfectly suited to the busy lives of accomplished professionals, business people, entrepreneurs or high net-worth individuals who are looking to secure EU residency with the potential for EU citizenship in the future.

The premise of the programme is for the applicant, with the assistance of our industry experts, to launch an innovative startup in Portugal by working with state research facilities and Portuguese Universities. Our partners have a substantial network of universities through which they are able to pair high potential business ideas with applicants’ backgrounds to make it easy to for them to work with suitable partners.

The HQA programme provides investors the following features and benefits:

  • An Investor-Entrepreneur visa through which the applicant wishes to launch and provide strategic direction to an innovative business in Portugal;
  • A minimum all-inclusive investment requirement of €175,000;
  • Fast processing of residence permit, typically within a 4 to 6-week timescale;
  • No performance requirements for the business;
  • No minimum days in country per year;
  • Family Reunification for children and parents;
  • Ten-year tax moratorium with no tax on foreign earned income for ten years.

Please note that as the Sovereign Group has a long established Portugal office and team ensuring that we are well-placed to assist clients with all their requirements in-house. This enables us to keep costs low and ensure that the process is completed in an efficient manner. Working in this way also enables us to assist clients in establishing all their requirements prior to their trip to Portugal, at which time we will also accompany them to their meeting with the SEF (Portugal’s immigration department).

If you are interested in our residency and citizenship programmes, please get in touch directly and we would be delighted to assist you.

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