Europe

Spain unclear how it will legally cancel golden visa scheme



In April of this year, Spain’s socialist government announced it would be scrapping its property-based golden visa, a scheme that grants non-EU nationals residency in Spain when they buy real estate worth €500,000.

However, it’s finding it difficult how to actually legally approve this move and pass it through parliament.

It’s worth noting that the visa is still available for those who invest €1 million in shares in Spanish companies, or €2 million in government bonds, or who have transferred €1 million to a Spanish bank account, but it will no longer be available for those who want to buy property. 

READ ALSO: When will Spain’s golden visa scheme officially end?

The Spanish government had initially agreed that the cancellation of this visa through property investment would be included in the land law, known as the ‘Ley del Suelo’ in Spanish, but it was withdrawn from the agenda in parliament as it did not have the necessary support to move forward.

The Ley del Suelo regulates the use and valuation of land, establishing a legal framework for urban development that balances both private interests and collective well-being.

Essentially the golden visa was just going to be a small part of regulating this law, but because it was withdrawn in anticipation of another parliamentary defeat for the Socialists, the intention now, according to sources from the Ministry of Housing headed by Isabel Rodríguez, is to ‘slip in’ this amendment to one of the other laws currently being processed in parliament. 

It’s not unusual for Spanish ministers to add an enmienda (amendment) to a bill that has nothing or little to do with the crux of the law being processed.

Only last May, Pedro Sánchez’s party added an amendment which eased the requirements for decrees to be approved to the Gender Parity Law, which focuses more on equal pay and work rights between men and women.

READ ALSO: Chinese investors rush to buy properties before Spain’s golden visa ends

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To accelerate the elimination of the property-based golden visa, Rodríguez’s team are now assessing various regulations being processed in parliament, with special attention paid to those that have more guarantees of being approved by opposition MPs.

READ ALSO – Spain’s soon-to-end golden visa: Can I still apply and what if I have it already?

Spain’s golden visa has long been controversial, with many blaming it for adding to the housing crisis. Junior coalition partner Sumar’s spokesperson, Íñigo Errejón said back in May that these visas are a privilege that must be scrapped “immediately”.

He said that they have an inflationary effect on the housing market, adding that other countries such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece have already taken similar measures in order to not become “tourist colonies” or “money laundering” locations.

According to data from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Agenda, between 2016 and January 2024, 10,528 ‘golden visas’ were granted in Spain. This figure rises to 14,576 if those granted between 2013 and 2023 are taken into account.



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