Portugal is one of the most popular European countries to move to right now. It runs a residency by investment program, whose participants get residency permits in exchange for property acquisition in the country. Many of the beneficiaries of this program are middle class Chinese citizens.
As China’s economy has grown over the years, it has created a large middle class with money to spend. However, they are not able to invest in their home country due to being out-priced by the market or existing government regulations.
The next best option is investing in a foreign country that enjoys good government relations with their own. Portugal is that kind of country. Besides seeking to invest in a foreign country, Portugal also offers a residency by investment program. As China develops, more and more of its citizens are seeking opportunities for themselves and their children in other countries. Portugal is the most popular.
Listed below are some of the reasons why middle class Chinese citizens are moving to Portugal in droves.
Opportunities for further migration
The most common method for middle class Chinese citizens to move to Portugal is through the Golden Visa program. This is a residency by investment program that many middle class Chinese people find affordable.
One of the many benefits of using this plan to move to Portugal is that as a resident of Portugal, you can move around, live, and work in the other Schengen countries freely. Therefore, taking advantage of the golden visa program is not only a move to Portugal. It also facilitates movement to other European countries.
Whether you own a business or are looking for a job, you can now legally and successfully get gainful employment or expand your existing business into Europe. Starting a business in Europe is quite easy. The registration process allows you to do business in all the European countries without having to apply for a permit in each country.
Also, as a resident of a European country, you have visa-free access to hundreds of other countries around the world. You can therefore proceed to travel if you like, get jobs and build a business – this is much easier than it would be if you were reliant on just your Chinese passport.
The ability to see and do more around the world is one of the advantages that middle class Chinese gain when they move to Portugal.
Better living conditions
Another prominent reason why middle class Chinese are moving to Portugal is for better living conditions. The transformation of China from an agricultural dependent economy to the largest manufacturer in the world has had a great impact on the environment in the country. The Chinese citizens with the ability to move are seeking out countries with better climatic and environmental conditions.
Portugal has been one of the popular Chinese tourist destinations. It has a lovely tropical climate with lots of sunshine and fresh air. It is clean with beautiful beaches and oceans. It has good air quality, which is a major attraction to the Chinese middle class.
Life in Portugal is also not as hectic and busy as life in China. Further, the cost of living here is much lower. You therefore do not have to work too long hours to make enough to sustain your family. Consequently, middle class Chinese citizens seeking to have quality time with their families are moving to Portugal to enjoy a much slower pace of life.
Education is another aspect of the good conditions of living in Portugal that attracts middle class Chinese to the country. Education here and all-around Europe is affordable, focused on practical skills, and not as competitive as in China. As a resident, you and your children will get to benefit from subsidized university education in all European countries.
Ease of residency by investment program
Many middle class Chinese people find the Portugal golden visa program quite easy to navigate. To attract investors into their country, Portugal has dangled residency to investors who buy property in the country. It is easy to qualify for the program since the threshold for qualification is investing in property of stipulated value by the government.
There are several categories of investment for this plan. Moneyed middle class Chinese people can therefore choose to invest between € 350,000 to 500,000 to qualify for this program. The application process is easy to follow and you do not have to do it in person. You can appoint a legal representative to carry out the process on your behalf. The government will process your application and communicate with your legal representative who will pick your residency permit on your behalf.
Further, the residency program does not have adverse minimum stay conditions. For your permit to remain valid, you need to have it renewed after the first year. For it to be renewed, one of the conditions you need to have met is, to spend a minimum of seven days in the country within the first year. The permit is then renewed every two years, for which you need to have spent a minimum of 14 days in Portugal. Another requirement to have your permit valid for the given five-year period is the need to keep your investment property. Do not sell your property before your permit period expires.
Having kept your residency permit valid for five years, you can now apply for citizenship in Portugal. This gives you citizenship rights and a European passport. This is a major attraction for many middle class Chinese whose passport is not as powerful as the European passport. This passport gives you access to the wider European region and many other benefits and opportunities that you can take advantage of.
For the Chinese middle class seeking a second passport, the Portugal Golden visa program in the fastest they can get. It comes with the added advantage of investing in an already attractive and growing economy with the potential for high returns.
Government interventions and political uncertainty
Another major reason why middle class Chinese people are moving to Portugal concerns the changing political and regulatory environment in their country. Many feel that their country is quite restrictive especially when it comes to investment. For example, it is nigh-impossible for you to own a second home for investment purposes in China. For this reason, many of those with the wherewithal to invest in second homes will seek out opportunities in other countries. Portugal offers both a conducive environment to make their investment and an opportunity to gain a second passport or citizenship.
Hong Kong is also a major source of middle class Chinese citizens seeking to move to Portugal. For the last year, Hong Kong has been facing lots of political challenges as China seeks to pass an extradition law here. There have been lots of demonstrations and residents are worried about their future and that of their children. This has been a major exodus for most well-to-do residents, whose first choice of country to move to has been Portugal.
Portugal, and by extension Europe, has a relatively stable political environment. This is an attraction for the middle class Chinese people in Hong Kong who are seeking a second home to move to if all the changes in the freedom they enjoy come to pass.
Portugal is a beautiful country
Portugal attracts a large number of middle class Chinese because of its beauty. It has pleasant weather and beautiful white beaches. With sunshine most of the year, you can quickly get used to living here. The Portuguese are also friendly people and welcome you warmly into their country. You are thus able to settle in very quickly.
Further, as a country, Portugal has a low crime rate. Foreigners into the country are thus not at risk of finding themselves at the mercy of criminals. The official language of communication is Portuguese, which you must have a basic understanding of before you get citizenship. However, English is spoken well all around the country and you will fit right in if you can speak some English.
For those looking to retire, Portugal has beautiful golf courses alongside long and pristine coastlines that you can get to spend time at and acquire new skills and hobbies. In the cities, you get to enjoy the historic architecture and the upcoming modern state-of-the-art office and apartment buildings. The historic buildings are giving way to the modern buildings as the government also seeks to encourage participants in the golden visa program to buy and renovate older buildings within and in the outskirts of the cities.
Easy to integrate
Chinese middle class citizens who move to Portugal do it for many reasons. One reason that is overlooked and makes it much easier for them to choose Portugal is ancestry. There are many Chinese people with ancestral ties to Portugal via Macau.
Macau, a self-governing Chinese territory was once part of Portugal. With a deep influence in Portugal, many Macau residents have relatives in both China and Portugal. There is a significant Portuguese speaking population in Macau. For them, and mainland Chinese people with ties to Portugal, it may be the easiest country to move to if one needs to move. With family in Portugal, it will be relatively easy for Chinese people to move and integrate into the community in Portugal.
Another major reason why middle class Chinese citizens move to Portugal is the search for investment opportunities. As already mentioned, it is difficult to invest in second homes in China. However, this is not the only reason. Portugal’s economy is still recovering from the last financial crisis. It was severely affected and had businesses close down and ongoing real estate projects.
Currently, the Portuguese economy is out of trouble and growing strong by the day. For astute investors, this is the kind of economy that you want to invest in. A place where you know that your money will grow. Portugal guarantees the investor that the value of their investment will grow.
For business owners, Portugal also has a vibrant startup culture. For those participating in the golden visa program, the government has stipulated startup investment funds that you can channel your residency by investment funds to, for investment in Portuguese startups.
Those who choose to invest in real estate are converting their apartments into short-stay homes, by taking advantage of Airbnb and the thriving tourism industry in Portugal. In line with a growing tourism sector, many participants of the golden visa program have invested in hotels.
According to the golden visa program records, there are thousands of Chinese citizens who have benefited from the program. The majority of the applicants and those who have already received their residency permits are Chinese. As more and more Chinese people gain residency permits in Portugal, the more others want it.
With the fluid political and economic situation of the country, many want to keep life insurance in the form of a foreign country residency permit or passport. In this way, if things in their country ever adversely affect their position in society, they have a way out. If one was ever in a situation that would require them to renounce their Chinese citizenship, they will do it knowing that they already have a place to go.
When one seeks for residency permits from Portugal, they will tell their friends to apply with them. As a result, there will be many middle class Chinese people moving to Portugal through the golden visa program.
Chinese citizens are the leading applicants of the Portugal golden visa program. The above are some of the reasons why many middle class Chinese people are moving to Portugal through the program. The government of Portugal keeps on finding new ways to attract more and more investors to the country through the program. As it grows in popularity, there are more Chinese people applying for the program as they have done over the years, since it was introduced. As China creates a larger middle class every year, this is likely to be the scenario for the foreseeable future.