Homes costing €160,000 or more might get non-EU nationals a residency permit in Spain, but not a work permit.
The Spanish Government is considering offering residency permits to non-EU nationals who spend €160,000 or more on a home or second-home in Spain, Ministers have revealed.
The proposal is mainly aimed at Russian and Chinese buyers, as EU nationals are already allowed to live in Spain, whether or not they buy property.
The goal is to stimulate home sales and help mop up the Spanish property glut. “We have to sell those homes,” Prime Minister Rajoy has said.
Russian interest in Spain is already growing rapidly. The number of Russian tourists broke through the 1 million mark this year, and Russians are already the fourth-biggest group of foreign property-buyers in Spain, after the UK, France, and Germany.
On the Costa del Sol, wealthy Russians accounted for 80pc of all purchases over €1 million last year, according to Spanish press reports. The Chinese, on the other hand, prefer to buy in cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
But as things stand, Russians and Chinese need a visa to visit Spain, and can only stay for 90 days at a time, which discourages many potential buyers. This proposal will make it easy for those with money to get a residency permit if they buy a property.
Spanish developers are reported to delighted by the proposal, saying they “defend” and “applaud” the measure, but others are less enthusiastic.
Antonio Carroza, head of Alquiler Seguro, a rental business, says it’s “doomed to fail, as it just repeats antiquated models using real estate for speculation.” He also points out that many questions will need answering, for example will only cash buyers get residency permits?
No public services or jobs
The proposal will not entitle foreign buyers to work permits, public schooling or health, Jaime García-Legaz, Secretary of State for Commerce, has stressed.
He also conceded that the proposal has caused “some confusion”, as the Government first appeared to announce it as a done-deal, but then backtracked saying the final decision hasn’t yet been taken, which is where we are now.
Spain isn’t the only Mediterranean country trying to attract foreign buyers: The Greek Government is considering dishing out 5-year residency permits to buyers who spend €300,000 or more on a first or second home, say press reports.