The Spanish regions of Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga concentrated the highest number of "golden visas" in 2022. This term refers to visas that were granted to non-Spaniards who had purchased a home with a value equivalent to or greater than 500,000 euros. This information was provided by the Spanish Government in an answer to a parliamentary question to which Europa Press had access.
The Executive's written response mentions that in 2022, 476 visas were issued for real estate investments in Spain. They were almost 500 foreigners who, altogether, invested more than half a million euros in a home. On the other hand, in a previous parliamentary response, the Government said that between 2013 and 2022 a total of 4,940 visas were issued. The latter figure takes into account investments made in companies and other forms of capital, in addition to home purchases.
Home sales to foreigners increased by 45%, to 88,800 purchases, in 2022.
A total of 2,263 "golden visas" were issued to Chinese nationals, representing 45% of all visas issued. With 969 visas, Russian investors accounted for 19.6% of all visas issued. The Spanish Executive particularly highlighted the 136 visas granted to Ukrainian nationals, which accounted for 2.7% of all permits issued.
The "golden visas" are an instrument approved with Law 14/2013 on aid to companies and their internationalization, presented and promoted by the Government of Mariano Rajoy.
Under this law, a foreign investor has three possibilities to obtain a visa and residence permit. The first option is to invest more than 1 million euros in shares, investment funds or bank deposits, or participations in Spanish capital companies, the second is the purchase of two million euros or more in Spanish public debt. The alternative is to buy one or more properties worth 500,000 euros or more.
Several leftist organizations have attacked the "golden visa" since its introduction. For example, Íñigo Errejón's parliamentary group, Más País, presented last February a bill in the Congress of Deputies with the aim of eliminating the possibility of acquiring a residence permit by buying property in Spain.
Errejón's formation points out in the document presented that this type of requirement for the granting of a visa causes an increase in the price of housing. In the bill they state that "The increase in the price of housing derived from the incorporation to the offer of agents with high purchasing power, willing to invest in real estate above the market price, directly affects the purchasing power of middle and low incomes".
Más País reached an agreement in principle with the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, headed by José Luis Escrivá, to tighten the requirements for the granting of home purchase visas. However, the early elections and the subsequent dissolution of the Cortes have hindered the implementation of this legal change, which Minister Escrivá did not consider a priority.
The European Union has questioned the legitimacy of the "golden visas" on the grounds that their issuance does not require an investigation into the origin of the funds being invested. In this context, Más País has suggested a legislative change to ensure that foreign investments in housing are made "guaranteeing their effects on the real economy and without distorting the real estate market in Spain".
What he is in favor of, however, is maintaining the "Golden Visa" for foreign investors who acquire Spanish debt for an amount equal to or greater than two million euros or invest in a Spanish company, as already specified in the legislation.
The head of Más País believes that these two examples "are indeed productive" and also produce employment in Spain. For this reason, he is in favor of maintaining these points in their current state or, at least, to look at them with "care".
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