Spain Plans to End Investment-Based Residency Permits

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, during a visit to a suburb of Seville, announced plans to address the issue of investment-based residency permits. He stated that the Council of Ministers would examine a report from the Minister of Housing and Urban Agenda aimed at amending a law passed by the Partido Popular in 2013. This law allowed individuals to obtain a residence visa by investing in housing in Spain.

Sánchez emphasized his administration’s intention to initiate procedures to eliminate the so-called “golden visa,” which grants residency when investing over half a million euros in real estate. He stressed the need to ensure that housing is a fundamental right rather than merely a speculative commodity.

Highlighting that the majority of investment-based residence permits were linked to real estate, particularly in popular tourist destinations, such as Barcelona, Madrid, and Palma de Mallorca, Sánchez expressed concern over the strain on these cities’ housing markets. He argued that the current model, centered on speculative investment in housing, exacerbates inequality and restricts access to housing for many young people and families.

The Sánchez administration aims to ensure affordable housing, with a goal that no citizen should spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

While detailed statistics on the golden visa program are no longer published, recent figures indicate a significant number of approvals, with the majority tied to real estate investments.

Krista Victorio, from Barcelona-based Orience, noted that Sánchez’s announcement about eliminating the program only mentions “measures” and it remains unclear whether he intends to abolish the program entirely or only the real estate investment category. She pointed out that legislative changes typically take 6 to 12 months in Spain, citing the lengthy process of passing the recently established Ley de Vivienda as an example.

Given Sánchez leads a minority government, passing new legislation will depend on the support of various small parties.

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