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Moving to the United Kingdom


Thanks to a capital city powered by international talent, the UK is a great place for motivated expats. Foreigners continue to be drawn to the UK by the attractive career prospects and the opportunity for personal development. Indeed, the home of both Cambridge and Oxford Universities is one of the very best places to pick up new skills, especially among younger professionals. It is also a top place for visitors to grow in confidence and there are plenty of opportunities to network.

The career benefits of the UK do come at the expense of higher living costs, but improved salaries make up the gap and many expats have money left over to explore the rest of Europe in their free time.

London remains the focal point for many expats looking to move to the UK. The city is a hub of multiculturalism which owes much of its cuisine, traditions and economy to generations of visitors from around the globe. Along with New York and Paris, it ranks as one of the most vibrant cultural hotspots in the world.

You should find it easy to adapt to life in the UK, but it may take a while to adjust to the congestion in bigger cities. The weather is infamously temperamental, making it a common talking point among locals and expats alike. And although there’s no language barrier for English speakers, some regional dialects can be difficult to understand.



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Portuguese Golden Visa – João Gil Figueira quoted in Forbes article

João Gil Figueira, Partner at GFDL, was quoted by Kathleen Peddicord in a Forbes article regarding terminating the Portuguese Golden Visa.

The original Forbes article is available here.

In the wake of the termination of all Real Estate investment options in the Portuguese Golden Visa program as part of the Affordable Housing package (Mais Habitação) pushed by the Government, it’s essential to understand the impact of such measures from a competition standpoint with other jurisdictions.

The Portuguese President vetoed the legislative bill terminating the Golden Visa. However, the veto is not definitive, and the bill is expected to be confirmed in Parliament, effectively bypassing the effect of the presidential veto.

Disclaimer

This publication or document contains general information and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide legal or tax advice or services. It should not be acted upon, relied upon, or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. Professional legal advice should be requested for specific cases. We do not undertake any continuing obligation to advise on future legal amendments or of the impact on the conclusions herein. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The contents of this publication or document may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express consent of GFDL Advogados.

Portuguese President vetoed changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa regime

The President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has today vetoed the “Mais Habitação” bill (“Affordable Housing Bill”) proposed by the Government. Rebelo de Sousa has sent the bill back to the Parliament for revisions on political grounds, as opposed to being rooted in technical or constitutional considerations. Consequently, this decision will extend the legislative process by at least one month before the bill can be ratified. The current configuration of Portugal’s Golden Visa program will remain in effect until the revisions are made.

In his formal communication to the Parliament, the President has listed explicit concerns and critiques of the bill. The President did not comment on the Portuguese Golden Visa program.

Another course of action previously available to the President would have involved submitting the bill to the Constitutional Court for assessment. Many have speculated that such a step was probable due to the provisions about the mandatory renting of vacant residences. However, the President has conveyed that he did not identify any aspect of the bill that was in breach of the Constitution.

In the event the Parliament votes for approval, the bill will not be vetoed again by President. At that time, new rules governing the Golden Visa will be put in place:

  • Transfer of capital in excess of 500,000 Euros to acquire participation units in venture capital funds, with a maturity date of 5 years, investing at least 60% in Portuguese companies’ capital*.
  • Employing ten individuals.
  • Transfer of capital of 500,000 Euros for the incorporation or capitalization of a Portuguese company, combined with the creation of 5 jobs for a minimum of three years.

*The investment activities still eligible for the Golden Visa cannot be conducted, directly or indirectly, for real estate investment.

The following capital contributions are also eligible for Golden Visa purposes but are generally considered non-yield-generating options:

  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 250,000 Euros to invest in or support art production, or the restoration and maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services carried out by a range of public or private entities.
  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 500,000 Euros for scientific research.

The investment threshold may be reduced by 20% if the investment is conducted in low-density areas.

Prospective applicants who want to apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa under the existing regulations, particularly by investing in real estate, are advised to submit their applications before the anticipated implementation of the new legislation, which is projected to take place in September.

GFDL Advogados’ Immigration Team is available to assist you in applying for a Golden Visa. Contact us as soon as possible.

Disclaimer

This publication or document contains general information and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide legal or tax advice or services. It should not be acted upon, relied upon, or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. Professional legal advice should be requested for specific cases. We do not undertake any continuing obligation to advise on future legal amendments or of the impact on the conclusions herein. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The contents of this publication or document may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express consent of GFDL Advogados.

Update: New amendments to the Portuguese Golden Visa program are finally confirmed.

The package of laws designed to promote affordable housing (“Programa Mais Habitação”), which impacts the Golden Visa program, was recently approved on July 19th, 2023.

Since February 2023, the Portuguese Government has been pushing for the complete termination of the Golden Visa program. However, the program will not be scrapped altogether in a sudden change of heart. Nevertheless, the most popular investment route – acquiring real estate property – will be struck out. Investment in funds will likely become the most popular option.

Foreigners and non-residents are still allowed to acquire Portuguese real estate property without the benefit of eligibility for a Golden Visa. Several other investment options remain available.

The Golden Visa program allows foreign (non-European Union citizens) investors to legally reside in Portugal so long that some investment criteria are met, namely having locked in an eligible investment for five years and complying with unique minimum stay requirements instead of the “standard” 183-day stay rule applicable to other residence permits.

Which investment routes are terminated? 

The new law excludes from the eligible investments list:

  1. The acquisition of real estate;
  2. The deposit of capital or investment into financial products valued in excess of 1.5 million Euros;
  3. Acquisition of participation units in investment funds investing in real estate.

The acquisition of real estate is excluded, including indirect investment in real estate via Portuguese-based collective investment vehicles, such as venture capital fundsHow to assess if a fund is deemed not to hold directly or indirectly real estate investments is yet to be determined.

Which investment routes are still available?

The following investment routes are still available:

  • Transfer of capital in excess of 500,000 Euros to acquire participation units in venture capital funds, with a maturity date of 5 years, investing at least 60% in Portuguese companies’ capital*.
  • Employing ten individuals.
  • Transfer of capital of 500,000 Euros for the incorporation or capitalization of a Portuguese company, combined with the creation of 5 jobs for a minimum of three years.

*The investment activities still eligible for the Golden Visa cannot be conducted, directly or indirectly, for real estate investment.

The following capital contributions are also eligible for Golden Visa purposes but are generally considered non-yield-generating options:

  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 250,000 Euros to invest in or support art production, or the restoration and maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services carried out by a range of public or private entities.
  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 500,000 Euros for scientific research.

The investment threshold may be reduced by 20% if the investment is conducted in low-density areas.

Will other residence programs be impacted?

Other routes for expatriates to relocate to Portugal, such as the D7 or the D8 residence permits, remain intact.

When will the new law enter into force?

The entry into force of the new law is the day following its official publication in the Republic’s Gazette, which should be contingent on the parliamentary law approval process. For more information, read this past article regarding the Golden Visa.

The new law will only apply to new applicants (ongoing applicants and renewals will not see any changes in their process).

Impact on current Golden Visa holders and applicants

Current Golden Visa holders and applicants are grandfathered in. The new amendments allow the possibility of renewing residence permits when these permits have been granted under the previous Golden Visa regime. Under the new law, all Golden Visa renewals will be continued under the previous Golden Visa rules. The latest and past investors will not have to comply with the general 183-day stay requirements to renew their residence authorizations.

The current Golden Visas will be automatically converted into the already established entrepreneur visa without the obligation of fulfilling the general staying requirements days for regular residence authorizations. Golden Visa holders must comply with a minimum permanency requirement of seven days during the first year and 14 days during the subsequent 2-year periods.

The reunification rights of family members remain the same.

On the possible refusal of Golden Visa issuance to citizens of specific jurisdictions

The new law provides for the possible refusal of the granting or renewal of residence permits to citizens of third countries (non-E.U.) subject to restrictive measures by the E.U.

Want to apply for a Golden Visa?

If you still wish to apply for a Golden Visa under the available routes, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible. Our team is available to assist you and your family with all the necessary immigration, investment structuring, corporate and tax aspects associated with investing in Portugal.

Disclaimer

This publication or document contains general information and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide legal or tax advice or services. It should not be acted upon, relied upon, or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. Professional legal advice should be requested for specific cases. We do not undertake any continuing obligation to advise on future legal amendments or of the impact on the conclusions herein. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The contents of this publication or document may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express consent of GFDL Advogados.

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