According to the SEF figures, in September 37 of these Residence Authorisations for Investment activity (ARI) were issued, for investment of €21.1 million. The month marked the revival of the scheme after a break of two months due to a lack of legislation to fully implement reforms announced earlier in the year.

Of the October permits, 112 were issued thanks to investment in property (for which the minimum is €500,000 and seven for transfer of capital (for which the minimum is €1 million).

So far this year, 599 golden visas have been issued, against 1,526 last year and 494 in 2013. Since October of 2012, when the measure was first introduced, a total of 2,621 permits have been issued.

Of those 2,480 were on the basis of investment in property, 138 of the transfer of capital and just three of the creation of 10 or more new jobs. The cumulative total of investment entering the country as a result is €1.588 billion, of which €1.435 was for investment in property.

Citizens of China have made up by far the largest proportion of permit recipients, at 2,087 so far.

Since 2013, a further 4,017 residence permits have been issued under rules relating to the reuniting of families.

In February this year, the government announced changes to the process by which golden visas were to be issued, extending them to fields such as urban rehabilitation, science and culture, all with lower minimum thresholds. However, in July the SEF suspended the scheme on the grounds that some legislation was lacking; in early September that situation was remedied and the new rules came into use for the first time.

The reforms came in the wake of a police investigation into the administration of the scheme, starting in November last year, that led to the detention of 11 suspects, including senior officials overseeing the issuing of golden visas, and prompted the resignation of the then Minister for Internal Administration, Miguel Macedo.