MFG Consultants announcement – GOLDEN VISA (ARI) STATUS
The Portuguese residency by investment, also known as the ARI Program, or Portuguese Golden Visa Program, is one of the most successful residency programs by investment in Europe.
The Golden Visa program started in Portugal in 2012, with increasing number of investment options available for investors whom are interested in investing in Portugal and will continue to strive as this program is one of the most popular residency programs for investment.
Even through the recession period, the Portuguese Golden Visa commonly known as ARI attracts foreign investors to the country from all around the world and has now evolved into a full operation recognized by the Portuguese government as a fundamental program to attract foreign investment.
There is a significant and continuous support to the touristic sector but also the program in question has assisted in developing the urban real estate via rehabilitation. It is also true that the Portuguese residency program by investment has been experiencing some disruption, with some delays, more noticeably in the last months and since the borders appear to be opening all over the world.
A part of the equation comes from the fact the program is, most likely, suffering from his own success. In terms of numbers, the GV Program has had an unexpected number of applications to be filled, to which the public services struggle to answer within the timeframe predicted. To this problem the Portuguese Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI), which is the ministry responsible for the borders and immigration services (SEF) has responded by improving the services provided.
However, back in March 2020 Portugal was forced by the pandemic to lock down all services, this implicated that the Program itself suffered tremendously. On the one hand, the availability of the services for biometrics appointments available – a mandatory step in the process decreased significatively, and on the other hand, even when the services were able to schedule the biometrics collection, the applicants had no availability or possibility to travel to Portugal due to their own restrictions.
This created a major backlog, that the Government is working on by means of sending notices for the scheduling of biometrics appointments, in a chronological order, to try and allow all participants to resume the process.
Please view official SEF link - https://www.sef.pt/en/pages/noticia-sef.aspx?nID=413
Following COVID-19, the public decision to reorganize the immigration services did not contribute to the needed stability, required to recover the backlog brought by the pandemic. Thankfully, we recently received an update from the government that the planned transition to a new entity will not take place at once, it will occur in a more organic manner and we believe this decision will bring some consistency and will allow the borders and immigration services (SEF) to resume its normal activity.
More recently, Portugal faced an unexpected election last January when the previous colligation government was dissolved by the president, after failing to approve of the state budget.
And finally, as we all know, the existing war in Europe caused millions of refugees. Given that Portugal was one of the countries that welcomed the refugees, there was a major need, during the last months, to allocate the borders and immigration services (SEF’s) resources to provide assistance to the refugees fleeing to Portugal to escape the conflict.
We have been monitoring closely the situation since the beginning and putting all our efforts into contributing to create solutions that will allow our investors to continue a smooth path with their residencies in Portugal. In that sense, we have attended different meetings with the Government representatives and shared our views both regarding the impact of this disruption on our investors processes and to the country’s economy as well as presenting possible solutions to mitigate and help to resolve existing challenges.
Our message has been focused on two major points: i) the reopening of the ARI platform, where the process is submitted and ii) the need to resume appointments for the collection of biometrics both regarding the initial submission of new processes and the renewal of existing ones.
According to the feedback received, our requests were registered, and we received indications that actions will take place shortly, given the importance of the Program to the country.
Concluding, the ARI program is still up and running following its last redrafting, as approved in February 2021. Furthermore, we expect to have good news to provide to our investors very shortly, since we already started seeing a positive change on the actions coming from the borders and immigration services (SEF), namely the increasing number of pre-approvals and approvals received.
Feel free to contact us should you require any further clarification or have and follow-up questions.
We will continue to inform our investors of all new developments in this matter.
The MFG Consultants team