Spain boosts ‘golden visa’ scheme to tempt well-off potential expats

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THE Spanish government is looking to adjust its ‘golden visa’ scheme in an effort to draw more big money investors to the country. The regulation allows rich potential migrants from outside the EU certain residency rights in exchange for investment in property and other assets in Spain.

The current government initiated the programme in 2013, copying schemes already in existence in some other EU countries. But in its first 15 months, it only attracted 530 investors, which compares very badly with competitors such as Hungary and Portugal which have both drawn in several thousand investors.

In theory, in return for certain investments and the purchase of a property with a value of €500,000 or more, limited residency rights would be granted. The biggest potential market for Spain was in China but it’s believed the Chinese did not believe that the scheme was either attractive or easy enough to bother with when they could look elsewhere. Added to this is the fact that Spanish banks, ensuring their own safety by rigorously enforcing anti-money laundering laws, appear to have added further complications.

The government has therefore indicated that it will make a number of ‘technical’ improvements which it hopes will attract more foreign investment. These improvements include rights to work in Spain, the acceptance of common-law family and dependents, a six-month visa issued on the placing of a deposit on property, visa renewal every five years only, and the possibility of applying for a residency permit in Spain rather than in the country of origin.

Any significant number of new investors drawn by the changes could see an increase in prices of high value properties.

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