- In Portugal, socialist extremists ended the golden visa scheme, shunning investors who trusted the country.
- Despite declining, ageing populations Portugal seems to prefer exploiting humanitarian migrants incapable of competing for expensive services over wealthy migrants.
- Spain, Greece and Italy remain top alternatives to Portugal as expats re-evaluate their options.
The lack of understanding as to why the entire European continent faced inflation and a rise in property prices, enabled socialist extremists in Portugal to end the golden visa scheme. This move effectively served as a stab in the back property investors who were lured to Portugal. The stroke of self-defeating genius was announced by the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa.
It seems that Europe has a different type of “replacement migration” in mind: The issue of throwing borders wide open for outright illegal migrants from poor countries, whilst clamping down on intellectual competition from wealthy migrants is an EU-wide phenomenon. The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has denounced the schemes as “objectionable from an ethical, legal and economic point of view.”
Does Europe want cheap labor, more tenants and little competition in business?
When Ray Dalio tipped Europe as a declining empire due to uncompetitive practices, he failed to point out just how irrational and misguided rapid policy decisions can be. It appears that in Portugal and Spain, many citizens would rather see a poor migrant class, capable of being nurses, cleaners and care givers – as well as being tenants in low-cost housing. This is because wealthy foreigners by contrast create competition for low-cost services and luxuries. Wealthy expats buy a property, whereas more needy migrants will do the type of work locals don’t like – and need to pay rent, thereby filling up low-end residential properties that are in abundance.
What expat investors had to say:
As one investor from Australia said: “We were told by government officials that besides getting residence in Portugal, we should also invest in buy to let properties as a means of moving our revenue base to Portugal. Now that we’ve done so, they revoke AirBnB licenses and stab us in the back”.
Another investor from Turkey said: “Now, hardworking people who brought their fortune to Europe are treated like crooks and made responsible for global inflation, whereas dangerous criminals who arrive by boat, some of them who rape and steal, are given a red-carpet welcome”.
An Israeli property investor said: “We effectively bought into a Portuguese bubble which was inflated and popped by the same nation. Just like Canada and the U.K. pricked their own bubbles with a needle, Portugal sought to pull a copycat move – only that Portugal does not have the same viable fundamentals as the countries it seeks to copy”.
U.S. and European property values tend to be interlinked:
With the exception of the extended Greek recession, most major EU countries saw property price declines and rises that moved in tandem with the United States and the U.K. However, unlike the U.S. which boasted a growing population, both Portugal, Greece and Spain have dwindling populations that are ageing. This meant that these European countries in particular, are in need of cash injections that come from foreign investors, particularly those who made use of the golden visa schemes.
It is therefore more likely that the prolonged property declines that were seen in Italy and Greece, were signs of what lies ahead – unless of course the open border policies of “replacement migration” can turn the tide in order to stimulate demand.
Will Spain and Greece benefit?
Whereas Greece and Spain may be the ultimate benefactors from the ill-willed cut your nose to spite your face policies that has gripped Portugal, it is true that all three countries are participants in an EU open border policy. Spain took a longer time to warm up to the idea of golden visas and have only introduced the scheme in 2022. Greece has had this in place for a longer period of time, although a similar socialist vibe is brewing among Athenians. Still, with Portugal out the race, it is believed that Greece, Spain and Italy may benefit substantially as alternative choices to Portugal.
The digital nomad visas issued by Greece are quite attractive, although outside of Athens, police stations are often unhelpful in providing high net worth foreigners with the assistance they need to comply with government red tape – and renewals of visas often leave expats in Greece without visas and paperwork for as long as 12 months. It is thought that if Greece can improve it’s administration of renewals, that the level of trust and subsequent referral by satisfied expats will increase.
The main threat in Greece, is that Alexis Tsipras, the socialist extremist who has put Greece back by a decade, may come to power again. That is if CNN’s man, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is found wanting by his voters over policies that alienated the Greek population, particularly during the WEF health related event where policies between 2020 and 2022 caused considerable distress to the population.
What an open border and the wrong type of migration meant for Spain, Germany and Sweden:
- Malmo in Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe.
- Violent African gangs are now pimping out local Spanish and Catalan women and selling drugs in Palma Mallorca.
- Foreigners, although an absolute minority – now count for as much as 46% of rape convictions in Spain.
- An elderly woman in a wheelchair was raped by two ‘African-type’ males in La Pommeraye park, according to Ouest France.
Are we to deduce from European policies that the above criminal instances are welcome due to light sentences – and that the higher end of the immigration market is no longer welcome?
Is this how most European pensioners envisaged their final years?
Is it not strange that in countries with a near 75% home ownership rate, that “property inflation” is actually considered a problem when a slim minority is affected?
It was nearly 10 years ago that locals in Palma Mallorca painted a graffiti message on their buildings which stated: “Refugees welcome, tourists go home”. Sadly, this impoverished but spoiled mindset is prevalent in more of Southern Europe – and it was that mindset that triggered the resentment of the Brexit movement in turn.
The best country for a golden Visa may no longer be found in the EU: with socialist extremists hitting the middle class where it hurts the most, and the elite ensures that little to no competition will reach their level, the best EU country for a Golden Visa may soon become elusive. That said, currently, Hungary and Italy have not signaled a desire to get on the bandwagon – and Greece is playing it’s cards closer to it’s chest.
Hedging against knee-jerk policies:
Many expats are now more keen to only engage with European destinations that are willing to issue a passport upon investment, in order to reduce the risk of uncertainty. Those who trusted Portugal are an example of just how risky it is to upend a life elsewhere and move to Europe – since now they are left scrambing for alternative options, and unlikely to find buyers for their property in Portugal once the house of cards begin to tumble.
Ultimately, the government in Portugal has set the stage for the next property recession to be much deeper than what they experienced in recent years. The human memory can be quite short at times and it is clear that people fail to learn from lessons and fail to understand the fundamental differences between countries that have negative population statistics.