Government explains lack of audit of gold visas with "lack of legal imposition" – The Economic Journal

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, explained Wednesday the lack of audits on the granting of visas gold with the "lack of legal imposition". Eduardo Cabrita considers that the process of granting residence permits for investment needs to be reviewed, taking into account that the socioeconomic reasons that justify its creation do not currently apply.

"There is no legal imposition today. This law has been amended, but it is in the program of activities that determined this annual audit of the General Inspection of Internal Administration (IGAI), "said Eduardo Cabrita in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees. Left Bank (BE), explaining that it was the person who determined that the regular assessment of visas gold be included in the IGAI business plan.

The bloc recalls that, since 2014, that no audit has been carried out to grant visas gold delivered to foreign citizens. "Unfortunately, the fact that Portugal does not carry out an audit of visas gold for five years, it only gives reason to those who, like the Left Bloc, have said that we are faced with something opaque that, as it could not be, has harmful effects on our institutions and on our democracy, "stresses the parliamentary BE.

In a committee, Mr Jose Manuel Pureza recalled that the 2014 audit report found "a number of complicated problems, including mechanisms too incipient, fragile and ineffective." Eduardo Cabrita acknowledged the problem and stated that it is the intention of the Government "to do is to review those that are the justifications for the attribution of this type of visas".

"The granting of residence permits for investment is a procedure that began in 2014 and since then has had an evolution that must be adjusted to that which is the change in the socio-economic reason that determined it. The assessment we make is that this procedure needs to be reviewed, "he underlines.

The minister also notes that, in 2018, there were 1,409 new residence permits, with a change in the origin of these new residents. "In the initial period there was a large majority of residence permits granted to citizens of Chinese origin, this prevalence has subsided and today corresponds to less than 50% of total residence permits, with nationalities coming from Turkey, Brazil or South Africa, "explained Eduardo Cabrita.

The BE has been defending the end of visas gold, arguing that "this figure is made with the determination of who knows that there is no democracy if we open the door to corruption and economic crime" and that the current regime "favors real estate speculation" and "changes our cities in a structural way" . As a rule, the granting of visas gold is associated with the purchase of properties worth more than 500 thousand euros.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that, in the last seven years, the visa program gold allowed to capture about 4,500 million euros for the Portuguese coffers.

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