Spain will put an end to “golden visas” granted to foreign nationals, which allow “to obtain a residence permit when more than half a million euros is invested in real estate”, announced Monday April 8 the Spanish Prime Minister, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, during a trip near Seville.

This removal, which will be validated on Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, will make it possible to fight against “speculative investment” from which “many young people and families” suffer, today unable to access housing in many cities across the country. he clarified.

Golden visas allow non-EU nationals to obtain a three-year residence and work permit, provided they invest at least 500,000 euros in a Spanish business or property. They were introduced in 2013 by the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy, who wanted to revive investments in the country, in the midst of an economic slump caused by the financial and real estate crisis.

Contested exceptional regime

“Today, 94 out of 100 golden visas are linked to real estate investment” and not to an investment in a business, Pedro Sánchez detailed on Monday. They are also concentrated in “large cities like Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Malaga, Alicante, the Balearic Islands and the city of Valencia”, where “the housing market is very tight”, he added.

Several countries in southern Europe, which had used similar programs to attract investments during the financial crisis, have decided in recent months to be careful about this highly contested exceptional regime.

Portugal therefore stopped issuing “golden visas” at the beginning of 2023, in a context of soaring housing prices. At the end of March, Greece tightened the rules governing the granting of these exceptional residence permits.

“Golden visas are a shame for Europe. It is unacceptable for a person to be granted a residence permit simply because they are a multi-millionaire,” Ernest Urtasun, spokesperson for the far-left Sumar party, a partner of the Socialists in the government, and minister, insisted on Monday. of the culture. Brussels said it was concerned, in 2019, about these practices, which benefit in particular wealthy Chinese or Russians, believing that they presented risks for the European Union, “in particular in terms of security, money laundering capital, tax evasion.”