By- Sara Blanco de Morais, partner at PLMJ.
More than a destination, Portugal is a product of its culture. It is very inclusive of foreigners, a safe and welcoming country, and one of the best destinations for holidays and, indeed, to live and invest. Its entrepreneurial spirit and abundance of talent has attracted many start-ups and established businesses. The proactive role of the government, the reduction in administrative bureaucracy and the creation of new regulated investment vehicles have consolidated Portugal’s position as an investor-friendly country. Brexit, what opportunities are there? The relationship between Portugal and the United Kingdom has been decisive during the Brexit process. In fact, Brexit has been – and will continue to be – a “land of opportunity” for investments in Portugal. It has generated more than EUR 1.7 billion in direct investment in Portugal in recent years, in fields like technology, real estate, tourism and pharmaceuticals. That is a result of the recent measures that were implemented by the Portuguese government. First, was the creation of Portugal IN. to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), not only by removing some of the barriers and constraints that FDI has faced, but by promoting the unique competitive advantages of Portu- gal. Second, the most recent contingency measures that were approved on 28 March 2019 giving UK citizens and Indian naturals holding a UK passport a set of rights and guarantees during and after the Brexit process. These include a right of residence in Portugal until 31 December 2020 for UK citizens and the right to benefit to engage in professional activity in Portugal. Golden Visa Outside the Brexit context, the recent changes in the Golden Visa rules imple- mented last year are yet another example of the incentives to attract foreign invest- ment. They include the transfer of capital (of at least EUR 1 million), the creation of ten jobs, the acquisition of real estate with a value of at least EUR 500,000, or the transfer of capital of at least EUR 350,000 to acquire units in investment or venture capital funds aimed at providing capital to companies. The Golden Visa allows holders to travel freely in Schengen area. The flexible rules regarding residence match Lisbon’s position as a top destina- tion for real estate players. Mansion Global considers Lisbon to be one of the top cities to invest in real estate in 2019. This is the result of its growing popularity as a tourist destination and the sustained increase in property prices in the city. Portugal and India Building on the historic relationship that exists between the two countries, Portugal recently signed 11 Agreements involving India and the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP), the Portugal-India Business Hub, the University of Minho, the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory of Braga and the Foundation for Science and Technology, among others. In addition, the Portugal-India Business Hub and the Indian Chamber of Commerce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote economic exchange in the areas of trade between India, Portugal and the Indian Diaspora markets. With a bilateral and multilateral perspective, this MoU focuses on solar and wind renewable energy, construction, infrastructure, tourism and real estate.
Second, the most recent contingency measures that were approved on 28 March 2019 giving UK citizens and Indian naturals holding a UK passport a set of rights and guarantees during and after the Brexit process. These include a right of residence in Portugal until 31 December 2020 for UK citizens and the right to benefit to engage in professional activity in Portugal