This legal mechanism, colloquially known as the Golden Visa, allows no-EU citizens to obtain five-year residency permits upon the purchase of one or more houses with a minimum investment of 500,000 euros. Asian investors in particular have taken advantage of this opportunity and make up half of the holders of these residency permits.
During an improvised breakfast with Estrella, Withfor's Chinese collaborator, I realised that the profile of high-level Asian clients, as discreet as it may be, was worth understanding. In fact, her discretion is only matched by her efficiency, particularly when it comes to implementing legal arrangements like the “Golden Visa”. So, I decided to devote a few lines to the subject.
Since 2013, Spain (alongside other European countries) has applied a legislation  that allows citizens from countries outside the EU, to solicit a new type of visa which offers “permission of residence” for up to 5 years. Furthermore, it offers the possibility of obtaining an employment contract. Supposedly this legal arrangement will attract highly-qualified professionals, but also foreign currency.
The law lists the criteria for obtaining the new Visa, whether you are an entrepreneur developing a business in Spain, or an investor in public debt or real estate. The minimum amount, in this last case is 500,000 euros, but it may be split between various buildings.
This legislation, sometimes referred to as the “Golden Visa”, has been successful with the metropolitan area of Barcelona being the main beneficiary of the scheme. In fact, in 2016, 893 apartments were sold under this arrangement. Two thirds of the acquisitions were made by Chinese and Russian citizens.
However, in some cases it seems that the buyers had no intention of moving to Barcelona, but sought to make a rental investment (almost always in new buildings) while taking advantage of the Spanish Visa which allows free travel throughout Europe (the Schengen area). Which were the areas most favoured by these buyers? The surveys show: Diagonal Mar, Zona Alta, Sant Cugat, Sant Just and Esplugues de Llobregat.
No one would be surprised to hear that some 100% Chinese agencies, always in search of good business, have opened their doors to this wealthy clientele.
By May 2018, almost 41,000 foreign citizens had taken advantage of the arrangement and obtained the famous residency permit (Source Idealista). But it seems that, in recent months, the Chinese government has curbed the outflow of the foreign currency. Now is the time for the citizens of North and Latin America, and the Middle East, to consider the opportunity this presents them.
Don’t leave it until the last minute! In other words, we should take advantage of the current opportunity while it lasts… The law could change if the economic context evolves or the authorities in Brussels deem necessary. As a Withfor collaborator, Estrella never neglects out this legal opportunity.
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