Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2024

Brits blast Madrid’s plan to scrap £429k Golden Visa scheme | World | News

Brits looking to buy their dream properties in Spain have blasted Madrid’s plans to scrap golden visas for non-EU nationals as “absolutely crazy” and economically illiterate.

Under existing rules, non-EU citizens investing a minimum of £429,000 (€500k) in property qualify for a so-called “golden visa”.

The policy has been in force for over a decade and allows property investors to live for an initial two year period in Spain.

They can then renew the permit indefinitely every two years, as long as they still retain their property.

However, Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wants to scrap the scheme and prioritise affordable housing for Spaniards.

“I would like to announce that tomorrow’s Council of Ministers is going to study a report presented by the Minister of Housing and the Urban Agenda to modify the law, approved by the People’s Party in 2013, which allows you to obtain a residence visa if you invest in housing in our country,” he said on Tuesday April 9.

He added: “We are going to take the necessary measures to guarantee that housing is a right and not merely a speculative business.”

The policy U-turn has infuriated Brits who are considering investing in Spain’s lucrative property market.

Paul Noon, a 63-year-old retiree, recently bought a €750,000 (£643,000) three-bedroom seaside villa on the Costa Del Sol with his wife, Gail.

He told the MailOnline that the upcoming decision would hurt Spain economically and made no sense at all

He said: “It’s absolutely crazy, I have long credited the Spanish Government for their intelligence in realising that all we Brits do is spend money when we are here.

“We give business to gardeners, pool maintenance companies, marinas, restaurants, the list is endless. We create massive employment.

“Where we are on the Costa Del Sol the building is relentless and the purchase taxes for our villa alone were six figures.

“The building will stop, developers will be left with unsold properties and the Spanish Government will lose out in a big way.”

Under current European immigration rules for non-residents, Brits can only spend 90 days out of every 180 now in EU countries.

Before Brexit there was no such limit or need for visas. Only 40 percent of over-60s voted to Remain in the referendum – in contrast 73 percent of people aged 18-24 voted to retain Britain’s EU membership.

Golden visas will still be granted for other forms of investment in Spain – such as financial assets like shares, government bonds and various funds.

Spanish experts predict the rule change will have a minimal effect on the property market as a whole.

Ferran Font, Director of Research at the real estate portal, pointed out the number of residence permits that have been granted for the acquisition of properties worth £429,000 or more is not very significant.

In total just 136 were issued in the whole of Spain for the year 2022.

He said: “From the point of view of the market in general, and although it is a time when the purchase by foreigners is around 15 percent and is at historic highs, the impact it may have will be relative”.

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