Gold Visas: SEF's ARI platform is already operational

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The gold visa processes for real  estate investment were still between the beginning of the year until the end of May due to inoperability of the ARI platform (Residence Permits for Investment), which was "awaiting new regulation", as advanced the investigation of the idealist / news , pointing out the various consequences for the country. But this reality, however, has changed: the ARI platform, managed by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) is operational again and has already received several gold visa applications.

"The platform for inserting new Investment Residence Permits from the Foreigners and Borders Service is finally operational," confirmed the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII) to its associates. He also said in a statement that "the platform has already received several applications for ARI, after being inoperative since the beginning of this year".

"We consider it positive and note with satisfaction that the competent entities have addressed APPII's concerns and placed the platform that allows the insertion of applications for so-called gold visas  again operational," comments Hugo Santos Ferreira, president of APPII, quoted in the document.

The person responsible had previously expressed concern about the situation, noting in statements to the idealist/news that the change in the law of gold visas, in parallel with the restructuring phase of the SEF, "cause much consternation to the real estate investment and, of course, at a very complicated time of great uncertainties that we live in."

Gold visas perused at SEF for 5 months

This means that foreigners who have made large real estate investments in the country – around 500,000 euros and 1 million euros – can now move forward with the processes for access to golden visas, as promised by this programme. It is recalled that, as the idealist /news advanced, the ARI platform was inoperative at least between January and May, being "waiting for new regulations" resulting from the new gold visa law that came into force on the first day of 2022 and which aims to prohibit the allocation of new visas for the acquisition of real estate   metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, and on the coast of the country.

Later, the Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, André Moz Caldas, said that, after all, "the law amended in the past is directly applicable and does not lack any special regulation", so "there are all the conditions to implement the legislative change" regarding gold visas.  Also the Deputy Minister and Parliamentary Affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes, came to public say that "the law, as it stands, does not lack regulation by the Government".

In addition to the new law, experts point to the extinction of the SEF and the lack of human resources of this service as a factor that could be behind this stoppage of the ARI platform for real estate investment.

The truth is that this freeze on the ARI platform for the submission of  new gold visas for real estate investment has created several constraints for foreign investors and professionals working directly in these processes. 


And the consequences of the system's inoperability all these months have had consequences for the country, according to experts contacted by idealist/news:

  • Disgruntled and "desperate" real estate investors;
  • Move away from foreign real estate investment;
  • Investment is diverted to competing countries;
  • Portugal gets tarnished international image;

Now, with the new ARI platform once again operational, all players in the sector should join forces to clean the image of Portugal out there and re-attract more foreign real estate investment, because, as APPII recalls in the document, real estate investment is one of "the great pillars of our economy", representing 15% of GDP in 2019.


Taking advantage of the crisis as an opportunity

Today, the economies of the countries are going through a social and economic crisis, which stems from a period of recovery from the pandemic that is being marked by the War of Ukraine.  And in this context, the construction and real estate business in Portugal is confronted by:

  • Rising pre-war construction costs and the effects of ukraine's own war;
  • Risk of a recession pointed out by G7 finance ministers, also derived from inflation and interest rates.

But unlike other recent crises, "this represents an important opportunity for Portugal," says the president of APPII. "Our country offers unique conditions to those who seek us as an investment destination, for safety, location, quality of life, among others. And, it is for this reason, that it is essential to have the process of residence permits for investment 100% operational to attract and receive decently those who want to invest in our country", maintains Hugo Santos Ferreira.


Source: idealista news