Requests for information from Hong Kong residents soared after the announcement that Beijing would impose national security law in that territory, according to companies specializing in obtaining ‘golden visas’ in Portugal.
Ivone Mak, the Chief Operation Officer at Berkeley International Holdings, one if the first agencies in Hong Kong specializing in Portuguese Golden Visa services, tells CLBrief that the new security law has generated “anxiety, if not fear”. The interest of locals in Golden Visas has risen, considering Portugal as “a place to retreat to, if needed.”
“Hong Kong clients are prudent investors looking to maximize their rental returns”, adds Tak. The company specializes in city properties and takes care of rental for the clients.
Kieron Norris, co-founder of Golden Visa Portugal Limited, a company specialized in obtaining ‘golden visas’ in Portugal through acquisition of real estate, told Lusa News Agency that “the number of requests for information has skyrocketed”, with “dozens of people calling every day” because “everyone is very concerned with what is happening”.
The company based in Hong Kong and with representation in Portugal, ensures that the confidence that its customers have in Portugal is much greater than that they now have in the Chinese city, which has autonomy in all areas until 2047, except in diplomacy and in defense.
The law in question prohibits “any act of treason, separation, rebellion, subversion against the Central People’s Government, theft of state secrets, the organization of activities in Hong Kong by foreign political organizations and the establishment of links with foreign political organizations by Hong Kong political organizations”.
Before the announcement by Beijing, the company had some calls from people “with a lot of questions and it took a long time to make a decision”, but now “there are a lot of people putting forward collateral” to guarantee the process, explained the other founder, Jason Gillott .
Hong Kong customers, stressed Kieron Norris, are prepared to sell their properties in Hong Kong quickly, “losing 10 to 15% because they think the market here will not come back”, due to the fear that the new law may cause in the semi-autonomous former British colony.
“And they are prepared to lose money in Hong Kong because they can have financial returns in the next five years in Portugal,” said Kieron Norris.
The company is confident that real estate prices in Portugal will not go down due to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, not least because, given the current situation of uncertainty, many people are looking to invest in Portugal and to start the ‘golden visa’ process, opening accounts in Macau and Portugal for the purpose.
Jason Gillott saysPortugal is one of the best positioned countries for the “post-covid-19 world”, for having handled the covid-19 crisis “very well, with one of the lowest numbers (of victims) in the European Union”, being politically stable, and having good relations both with China and with the United States, as well as openness, a good tax system and quality of life.
Not only are traditional Hong Kong residents interested in acquiring property in Portugal, but also many English expatriates living in Hong Kong, who due to uncertainties in the city, but also from Brexit, do not want to return to their country of origin come to Portugal as a safe and peaceful country, they said.
Investment obtained through ‘golden visas’ fell 46% in April, compared to the same month of 2019, to 28 million euros, according to data from the Borders Service of Portugal (SEF). In the first four months of the year, investment raised through the investment scheme totaled 147,734,585.61 euros, 40% less compared to the same period in 2019 (249 million euros).
The Golden Visa scheme (ARI) is a type of residence visa in Portugal that grants authorization to live in the country, benefiting from the advantages of being part of the European Union, for foreigners who can prove that certain types of investments have been made in the country.