Addressing the media in a press conference at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon following a Council of Ministers cabinet meeting held to tackle a lack of affordable housing, António Costa said the Government will “stop granting new Golden Visas” to foreign buyers.

He elaborated that Golden Visas that have already been issued will only be renewed “if they are for proprietor and their descendants’ own permanent housing, or if the property is placed on the rental market for long-term lets".

The measure is part of new legislation under the ‘Mais Habitação’ (More Habitation) programme, created to address the country’s housing issues, divided into five key fields: Increasing the supply of residential properties; simplifying licensing procedures; getting more homes on the rental market; tackling real estate speculation; and supporting families, both in terms of rental contracts and home loans.

In November 2022, the Prime Minster had already hinted that the Golden Visa programme was being reassessed after saying several visa schemes that Portugal offers were being “re-evaluated”, including the residence-by-investment (Golden Visa) option.

A question mark was left hanging over the immediacy of the termination at the time of its announcement, but some media reported that the Mais Habitação programme would be “up for public discussion for a month, so that [the measures] can then be formally ratified at the Council of Ministers on March 16”.

Following the usual process, it would then likely be sent on to Parliament for approval (which is expected, due to the government’s party majority), then to the President, who could approve the package or forward it on to the constitutional court.

Reacting to the news, lawyer Clélia Brás , of law firm PRA Advogados Law, said: “The same government that a year ago prohibited the granting of new Golden Visas in the large metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, on the basis that it was necessary to renew and innovate the interior of the country, is the same government that now wants to prohibit them. Wasn't it important to rehabilitate and make the interior grow economically? These questions need urgent and clear answers”.

Continuing, she reasons, “Nevertheless, it is important to take into account the weighting of the various measures that may be unconstitutional and, as such, nothing guarantees, at the present time, that they will be effectively applied.”

Several European countries were favoured for their Golden Visa Programme, with Portugal, Greece and Spain among those at the top of the list.

Since its launch in October 2012 Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme issued over 11,600 permits to main applicants, having brought in more than €6.6bn in investment revenue by the ten-year mark.

“The Golden Visa was a hugely popular channel for foreigners to acquire property and residence in Portugal and many of our units were sold via this means, namely to British and North American nationals but also to golf aficionados from around the globe who have some of the best courses in the country on the doorstep and fabulous on-site facilities for their families to enjoy” says Ana Damásio, Director of Real Estate Sales & Marketing at the Wyndham Grand Algarve.

The Wyndham Grand Algarve residences comprise 132 one and two bedroom apartments and three-bedroom penthouses in the heart of the exclusive Quinta do Lago resort, all fully equipped and furnished to Wyndham standards.

She adds: “This possibility has been swirling for a while but confirmation seems to shut the door on Golden Visas. However, as our Wyndham Grand Algarve residence units are ready-to-go and deeds could be signed in as little as 10 days, there may still be a narrow window for those wanting to snap up the last few properties.

“Among our owners we also have Digital Nomads who enjoy their property for part of the year because the residences are eligible for the D7 visa too”.