What do foreigners think of Portuguese food

Golden Visa for Rich Foreigners

Martin Lawrenz stands on a terrace on the 21st floor and looks over modern office buildings and leisure facilities directly over the wide Tejo estuary. Five years ago, the German real estate agent could have asked for more than 600,000 euros for the 160 square meter, two-story condominium in an exclusive location in Lisbon. Those days are over:

"Surprisingly, Portugal has had a fairly moderate development in prices over the last 15 years, that is, this real estate bubble that we had in Spain or partly in Great Britain, but especially in Ireland, has never shown itself that way here Unfortunately, prices have only known one downward direction since 2008. In the segment in which we have been working in the last two years, it was 28 and 25 percent respectively that the prices fell. "

An initiative by the Portuguese government gives Lawrenz and his Portuguese business partner new hope that the drop in prices for luxury properties will slow down. Citizens from non-EU countries are enticed with a five-year residence permit if they buy one or more properties in Portugal worth over 500,000 euros.

"At the moment this is essentially of interest to us for three markets: on the one hand, the Asian region, where there have already been a number of inquiries from this region for properties here in Lisbon. The second interesting market is, of course, Brazil, because the Brazilians have it over wealth and are quite ready to invest in Portugal. And what should not be underestimated is the African market, especially Mozambique and, of course, first and foremost Angola. "

In addition to buying real estate, there are two other ways in which foreigners from non-EU countries can obtain a residence permit in the future. Either through direct investment in Portuguese companies of at least one million euros; or by starting a company that creates jobs in Portugal.

The Portuguese government wants to counteract a development that could jeopardize Portugal's economic recovery in the medium term: In recent years, foreign investments have fallen massively. The recently presented study by an international consultancy firm shows that foreign investors who are already in Portugal do not intend to leave the country. José Gonzaga Rosa, who carried out the study, points out that new investors are still very mistrustful:

"The problem lies with the investors who are not yet in Portugal and who are considering whether to invest here or not. The results are not convincing. Only 21 percent of the companies surveyed would invest in Portugal. A ditch is opening up here: the investors believe Portugal is on the right track but they do not yet have the confidence to invest. "

One reason for this is Portugal's opaque tax policy. Because the country has to implement tough austerity measures in order to get the budget deficit under control, taxes have been raised again and again. And the tax burden for citizens and companies has reached an all-time high this year. That scares off investors more than structural problems such as a poorly functioning judiciary or too much bureaucracy, says analyst Gonzaga Rosa:

"The Portuguese tax system is very unstable. That means, even if there is good news, hardly anyone believes that it will prevail. The government must now start creating prospects for investors. For example, clearly saying we will reduce corporate and income taxes in two years. "

The official figures from the Portuguese Foreign Ministry confirm the study. The new regulation on investment policy has been in force since October, but so far only 60 applications from non-EU citizens have been received by the Portuguese authorities. This has prompted the government to loosen the rules once again in order to open the door to Portugal and Europe a little further. The minimum length of stay that a foreign investor must spend in Portugal each year has been reduced from thirty to seven days. And a foreign company no longer has to create thirty jobs in Portugal, but only five.