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Spain to scupper 'golden visas' for foreign real estate investors

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Spain to scupper ‘golden visas’ for foreign real estate investors

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

Ending the scheme would help make access to affordable housing “a right instead of a speculative business”, Sanchez said.

The program awards non-EU citizens investing at least 500,000 euros ($541,250) – without taking out a mortgage – in Spanish real estate a special permit allowing them to live and work in the country for three years.

“Today, 94 out of every 100 such visas are linked to real estate investment…in major cities that are facing a highly stressed market and where it’s almost impossible to find decent housing for those who already live, work and pay their taxes there,” Sanchez said.

He added that the government would launch the process to eliminate the scheme in Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting after studying a report submitted by the Housing Ministry.

Neighboring Portugal has recently revamped its own “golden visa” scheme and excluded real estate investment to tackle a housing crisis. Foreigners who want to secure residency rights can still put their money into investment funds.

The European Commission has long called for an end to all such programs, citing security risks.

(Reuters )

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