News out of Portugal over the weekend revealed the Portuguese golden visa programme will not be cancelled until the new law comes into place, says John Hanafin, founder of second citizenships experts Huriya Private in a briefing note to clients. 

He highlighted how in an updated filing, "Portugal's government announced significant U-turns when it comes to the scrapping of the golden visa regime". 

Under the new wording, the golden visa programme would still be terminated, but the blow would be softened in the following ways: 

•    No retroactivity clause: This means the programme will end ONLY on the day the government's new housing legislation comes into effect (see below). In other words, all current applicants no longer have to worry about their applications being cancelled, and in fact new applicants could now be considered.

•    No 183-day requirement on conversion to D2 visas: The original proposal was for renewals of existing golden visa holders to be converted to D2 (entrepreneur) visas. These require holders to be present in Portugal for 183 days per year (when golden visa holders only need to be present for seven days a year). The new text sees the government accept that golden visa conversions can retain the ‘seven days a year' requirement.

•    Investor visas still available for cultural investments: This marks another significant U-turn, as the government will allow investment-based residence permits for individuals who invest in support of "artistic production and the recovery or maintenance of cultural heritage". 

Hanafin said: "The bottom line is investors able to proceed should do so immediately. According to real estate sector specialists, the general belief is that the window of opportunity is likely to be at least 45 days. "