Since its creation in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa has been a much sought-after document for wealthy Brazilians. The program, which grants Portuguese residency to people who invest in property in the country, has given 561 Brazilians (as of mid-2018) the right to live in Europe. Now, a new rule will extend a similar benefit to foreigners investing in real estate in Brazil.
On the back of the new Migration Law which came into force at the end of 2017, the Ministry of Labor has instated a new residence visa route for foreigners. People investing at least BRL 1 million (approximately USD 260,000) in Brazilian real estate will be given the right to reside in the country—the minimum amount is as low as BRL 700,000 in the North and Northeast of Brazil.
Upon making the investment (which only applies to urban and not rural property), foreigners must live in Brazil for 30 days and then will be granted a two-year provisional residency visa. If by the end of this period the property is still owned by the foreigner and is in a good state of conservation, the visa becomes permanent.
Once the foreign investor has spent four years as a resident, he or she then becomes eligible for naturalization and can obtain a Brazilian passport. The measure is an attempt to both attract more foreign investment and stimulate Brazil’s stricken property market. While not identical to Portugal’s Golden Visa program, it is certainly heavily influenced by it.
Speaking to Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Hugo Gallo da Silva, president of the National Immigration Council, talked up the program’s capacity to help the construction and real estate sectors. “It’s an attempt to make immigration an easier alternative to raise investments for Brazil and facilitate the stays of people who want to live in the country,” he said.
Portugal’s Golden Visa Law
Beginning in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa program resulted in an approximate €3.32 billion of investment into the country as of 2017. Brazil is the country with the second-highest number of applicants for the permit—with Portugal’s attraction being explained by the lack of a language barrier and the existence of ancestral ties with the country. The undisputed leader of Golden Visa applications, however, comes from China, with almost eight times as many investors obtaining residency.
Unlike the Brazilian visa, Portugal’s program requires that foreigners either purchase property worth more than €500,000, or property built over 30 years ago worth more than €350,000. The permit itself lasts for five years.
New Migration Law
The new visa option comes as a result of Brazil’s new Migration Law, which was signed into effect in 2017 by President Michel Temer. The legislation replaced the Foreigner’s Statute and was praised for its advance in human rights and rectification of provisions which were criticized in the old law, enacted during the military dictatorship.
The new law institutionalized temporary humanitarian visas and removed old provisions which regarded immigrants as threats to national security.
Foreigners in Brazil are now allowed to participate in political manifestations and take part in trade unions, scrapping a paranoid old rule from the dictatorship which feared the entry of foreign “subversives.”
Controversially, President Michel Temer vetoed an amnesty for foreigners who entered the country before July 2016. The last such amnesty took place in 2009.