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“Golden visas” will be abolished. The Spanish government has made a decision

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The Spanish government has started the process of phasing out so-called “golden visas”. The program, created in 2013, provided the right to stay in the country to citizens from outside the European Union provided they purchased real estate. The European Commission, among others, called for the withdrawal of “golden visas”.

During Tuesday's meeting of the Spanish government, ministers supported the decision to withdraw visas granted to foreigners in exchange for the purchase of real estate worth at least PLN 500,000. euro. As Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez emphasized, the government wants to eliminate the program to “ensure people's right to housing and to stop it being the subject of speculative practices.”

The Spanish Prime Minister added that most of the visas granted were related to the purchase of property in places such as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Malaga, Alicante and the Balearic Islands – locations where the housing market “is under enormous pressure and where finding affordable housing is almost impossible.” for the people who live, work and pay taxes there.

Read also: The end of “golden visas”. There is an announcement from the Prime Minister

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“Golden visas” attracted Chinese and Russians

Obtaining a “golden visa” entitles you to a three-year stay in Spain. According to Transparency International, a total of 6,200 visas for real estate investing will have been issued by 2023, although other sources put the number higher.

The program was most frequently used by Chinese (2,712 visas), Russians (1,159), Iranians (203), and US citizens (177).

The “golden visa” program also provided residency in exchange for investing €2 million or more in government bonds, or for investing in Spanish emerging companies. It is worth emphasizing, however, that only 6 percent visas were granted for reasons other than property purchases, the government said.

Spain wants to lower housing prices

The Spanish government has been struggling with rising housing prices for a long time. Last year, the authorities introduced a housing law that aimed to limit rent increases where there were increases.

Now the authorities want to limit the purchase of real estate by foreign investors. However, critics say that abolishing the visa system will not improve the situation.

– The housing problem in Spain, both in terms of sales and rentals, is not caused by the Golden Visa, but rather by the increasing housing shortage and growing demand, said Francisco Iñareta from the real estate portal Idealista.

The European Commission called for the abolition of “golden visas” and similar programs out of concerns about security, especially after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The “golden visa” program was created in 2013 by the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy. It was seen as a way to attract much-needed foreign investment during the eurozone crisis.

Main photo source: Artur Bogacki/Shutterstock

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