Spain to end 'golden visas' granting residency to investors who spend €500k on housing

Spain will scrap its so-called "golden visa" programme granting residency rights to foreigners who make large investments in real estate in the country, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters on Monday.

PM Pedro Sánchez announces termination of the scheme that has benefited 10,000 people since 2013

The Spanish government will study a report from the housing ministry on Tuesday to revoke what is popularly known as the 'golden visa' for those foreigners who invest in the housing market.

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez at a press conference in Brussels / EU
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez at a press conference in Brussels / EU

PM Pedro Sánchez announced the measure on Monday during a press conference in the southern city of Seville. The 'golden visas' in Spain have been in place since 2013 and allow any investor who spends €500,000 or more on the housing market to obtain Spanish residency.

Since the legislation was approved by the People's Party government over 10 years ago, over 10,000 people have benefited.

"We will start the process of withdrawing this legislation that allows someone to get a residency whenever you invest over €500,000 in property. We will take the necessary steps to guarantee that housing is a right and not a speculative business," Sánchez said during his visit to Seville.

"Today, 94 out of every 100 residency visas obtained this way are linked to property investment, and they are mainly focused in cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Alicante, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia," he added.

For the Spanish government, these locations are "the ones that are facing a highly tense housing market, and where it is almost impossible to find a dignified home for those who live and work and pay taxes," Sánchez continued.

Having speculation in Spain "is not the model that we want because it drives us to disaster and more inequality, making homes inaccessible for many families and young people," he added.

Sánchez said the Spanish government's plan is to welcome those who plan to invest in innovation, create jobs, and improve productivity.

In February 2023, Portugal ended its golden visa program, which had significantly pushed up housing prices, and late last month, Greece tightened the rules of its own program, raising the required investment to as much as 800,000 euros.

The visas are “a disgrace to Europe. You cannot grant a residence permit to someone just because he is a millionaire,” said Culture Minister Ernest Urtasun, also of the radical left-wing Soumal party. A spokesman for the party, which is part of Spain’s ruling coalition led by the Socialist Party.

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