Emigration is a hot topic, especially after the recent riots in KZN and Gauteng and the announcement that South Africa’s unemployment rate has climbed to a record 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021.
“But uprooting one’s entire life no matter how eager we are to leave is never easy, and many of the residency or citizenship programmes require it,” said Christopher Garbutt, director of Passport to Portugal.
Garbutt said that the Portuguese Golden Visa is an option for those who can afford it, adding that you can do so without having to leave South Africa, making the process far less emotional, costly, and stressful.
A most common route to citizenship is by purchasing a physical property, which can be time consuming and expensive. Garbutt said that a far more viable option open to South Africans is to invest in a private equity fund.
A partnership between Passport to Portugal and the Tower Development Fund (TDF), which was formed in response to the challenges of a post-Covid world as well as climate change, is helping to streamline the route to the Golden Visa.
“Of the various options we offer our clients, a private equity fund is by far the easiest way to invest in the Golden Visa programme, that doesn’t require having to visit several properties, deal with real estate agents in Portugal, quarantine restrictions, and travel costs.
“We’re able through this route, to get our clients their Portuguese residency within approximately ten months, and in just five years apply for full citizenship. Up until now, it’s been one of the options with the lowest entry costs and the best security. But things are about to change,” said Garbutt.
At the end of 2021, Portugal is adjusting its emigration laws, making it approximately 42% more expensive and more restrictive to take part in not only this opportunity but all other Portuguese Golden Visa programmes.
With the laws about to change, South Africans can consider the private equity fund as an option. “It can take up to 10 weeks to process the relevant documents, and if they can do it now, they’ll be saving themselves 150,000 euros,” said Garbutt.
The Tower Development Fund is a government-regulated Portuguese Private Equity Fund subject to high levels of legislation. It’s regulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, the Bank of Portugal, The Fund Management Company, and the Portuguese Tax Authorities, he said.
While many countries offer similar investment opportunities in return for a passport, they often don’t have initial investments already in place, which makes the Tower Development Fund unique, said Garbutt.
The TDF is a closed-ended fund maturing in 10 years that offer investors benefits derived from preferential income and capital gains taxes on returns from the Funds. Diversification through a fund investment is considerably more than what an individual real estate portfolio can ever achieve.
The fund has already made its first investment in a real estate development in the Algarve, called Amyra Parque, Garbutt said. It offers 13 hectares of land that honour the agrarian environment.
“This idyllic location is near to Praia Grande, one of Portugal’s finest beaches, as well as the Salgados lagoon and the local bird sanctuary,” said Garbutt.
He said that investors in the fund would derive a return from the income generated by the fund from the management of the resort plus the sale of units and future investments made by the Fund.