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Navigating the Changing Migration Terrain in Portugal and the US

Published May 16, 2023

At Sanctum, Investment migration emerged as an important consideration for affluent families in the wake of the pandemic. Initially, the primary motivations for relocation centered around access to superior healthcare facilities and an improved quality of life.


Executive Summary:

  • Affluent families are increasingly focusing on investment migration programs to provide their children with access to quality education and a stable life in foreign countries.
  • Applicants for the Portugal Golden Visa program can continue to file their applications until the new laws take effect.
  • The introduction of the Concurrent Adjustment of Status (AOS) rule for the EB-5 visa allows students already in or planning to be in the US, as well as working professionals on an H1B visa, to obtain their work permits within approximately 3-5 months, significantly reducing the previous waiting period of 2-3 years, provided they meet the necessary conditions.

Investment migration emerged as an important consideration for affluent families in the wake of the pandemic. Initially, the primary motivations for relocation centered around access to superior healthcare facilities and an improved quality of life. However, the emphasis then shifted towards securing quality education and ensuring a stable life for children in foreign countries. Recent government data reveals that in 2022, more than 770,000 Indian students embarked on international study journeys, marking the highest figure in six years. Presently, parents are actively seeking investment visas to provide enhanced opportunities for their children, surpassing the traditional student visa route.

While families are exploring various sought-after destinations such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Portugal, Singapore, and Dubai, the favored choices appear to be the United States and Portugal. Both the US EB-5 program and the Portugal Golden Visa program have undergone significant transformations throughout the years. In this context, we provide the most recent updates on these programs.

Portugal Golden Visa

After the housing crisis discussions held on 16 February 2023 in Portugal, the Portuguese Parliament received the initial draft of a law aiming to make changes to the Golden Visa Program on 14 April 2023. The draft encompasses the following key points:

  1. The move to terminate the Golden Visa Program has faced resistance. Members of the industry are advocating for an extended grace period to allow for a smoother transition away from the program. The consideration of such proposals will be contingent upon the outcome of the upcoming round of discussions.
  2. The proposed change involves replacing the renewal of current Golden visas with Special D2 visas. However, there is a lack of clarity regarding the qualifying criteria for D2 visas. On a positive note, the draft specifies that holders of “Special D2 visas” would be subject to the same required number of days as current Golden Visa holders, i.e., seven days in the first year and fourteen days in subsequent years, for the attainment of permanent residency.
  3. Importantly, the law will not be retroactive, meaning that the Portugal Golden Visa program will continue to accept new applications until the new law is officially published.

EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 program has become a favored choice among students aspiring to pursue higher education and build a life in the United States. Despite the increase in investment limits from USD 500,000 to USD 800,000, the popularity of the EB-5 program persists. Moreover, with the program’s re-authorization in March 2022, the introduction of the Concurrent Adjustment of Status (AOS) rule enhances its appeal even further.

Under the previous regulations, applicants for the EB-5 program had to wait for their application to be approved before applying for a work permit. However, the introduction of the new concurrent Adjustment of Status (AOS) rule now allows investors based in the United States to commence working while their green card application is still in progress. Once the AOS is submitted, applicants can anticipate receiving their work permit within approximately 3-5 months and their travel permit within 10-12 months. This significant reduction in permit-wait-times from 2-3 years in the past to just a few months is remarkable. Moreover, this eliminates the need for these individuals to depend on the H1-B lottery system or maintain alternative visas while awaiting their green cards.

This development proves particularly beneficial for students already residing in or planning to move to the United States, as well as for working professionals holding H1-B visas in the country.

It is key to recognize that migration decisions have long-term implications, including their impact on taxation. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate your background and objectives to assess the suitability of the program. Furthermore, the aforementioned changes necessitate individual case evaluations, and it is vital that you fully comprehend the program, its processes, and its requirements before making ‘the move!’

To gain better understanding of the investment options available for you, reach out to us at
+91 9821925479

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