It’s not my intention to detract from your other arguments—I agree that non-sanctioned Russians should be treated equally (dis)respectfully as any other GV investor—but I did also find that statement quite funny.
just to make sure you are aware that you can reside in Portugal legally while waiting for your GV, in case you applied prior to 31 Dec 2021. Not only reside legally but have the right to work and access to any and all public services.
This has also been tested
Thank you! Yes, I am very well aware of that. But believe me, what you may not have tested is being a Russian waiting for a GV - and it is not funny at all. I know several people who have used this route and they now regret it. They cannot use their bank account normally (in case you didn’t know, all our accounts are semi-frozen - one can pay so the government could keep getting fees and taxes, but topping up is very limited; and our accounts are also capped - so for example should I decide to sell my apartment I don’t know how I would get the amount in excess of the cap); they cannot get credit cards, there are difficulties with other areas (eg. renting a car - I guess this may be connected with absence of a Portugal-issued credit card which is needed to do that). That is just to name a few. Opening a new bank account is de-facto not possible for a Russian without a residence permit. They cannot travel anywhere as Portuguese permission to live in the country is not recognized officially as a permit to move around EU. If they go to EU there is a risk of deportation for overstaying on the Schengen visa in case someone checks their passports. They can still fly back to a non-Schengen country without a chance to go back as a new Schengen visa is not going to be granted, plus they will have a record of its violation. For someone like me whose work requires business travel this is not acceptable, plus I don’t look forward to being constantly worried about having enough money with a non-functioning bank account. Believe me, I’ve researched the matter and have made various arrangements to be able to emigrate. Portugal is taking longer, but it’s not the only country and it proved unreliable in the current situation for things like investments, bank account, savings etc. I am still giving it a chance but other arrangements are underway, too. But thanks anyway, I appreciate your sympathy.
You seem a very smart and sensitive person. I am sure you got the point that he was making. We (investors) are all together in this, with the contracts being breached and promises not delivered - I mean those of us who’ve invested and did not get anything or less than was promised. He raised a valid point of prejudiced treatment that he’s experienced, and of efforts not being fairly recognized or appreciated. Would you agree? Also, English may not be the first language to everyone here (not for me, for example). Why don’t we think together what we should do to defend our rights? This draft law is pushing us into the direction of what we haven’t signed up for.
It sucks for PT to change the deal on you, or anyone. I don’t like the precedent it sets, albeit caused by a fairly unique – I hope; war is bad – set of circumstances.
But I do not see how PT could get around EU sanctions of Russia or why they would try. The EU doesn’t want huge sums of Russian money flowing into (or out of) it and ARI is a good mechanism for that, so it is an unsurprising move by PT. At minimum, you deserve your money back, but I’m not sure how they can accomplish this at the moment. (I am also not optimistic SEF would refund anyone’s money, but that’s my general pessimism toward SEF talking.)
Hard to imagine how this will end favorably for Russian people trying to immigrate to the EU until / unless Russia stops being naughty in Europe. For which you have my sympathy. Nothing about the situation is good.
Thank you. I only wish EU and Portugal were consistent in applying the sanctions. What is happening is something else - it is authorities and companies (e.g. banks) going well beyond what is stated in the sanctions and using a blanket application of cancel culture-type measures. As we have discussed, nowhere do the current sanctions prescribe such treatment of ARI, and even the EU recommendation is just that - a recommendation which still needs to find its way in the EU legislation in the manner consistent with prevailing principles and laws. What banks do by way of limiting persons’ right to use their own property is also beyond sanctions with authorities closing their eyes on this (only account caps are sanctioned, but not the rest). Something to think about for everyone. Today it is done based on nationality, and tomorrow?
Once again, my purpose is not to complain by any means and I fully support the sanctions that are targeted at stopping the war and happy to accept whatever inconveniences. What I am seeing is different though, I see sanctions being used as an excuse to implement measures that are unjustified, counter-productive and set a dangerous precedent for everyone. I am sharing these observations to bring attention to the arbitrary application of rules and laws that is happening right now, in EU, with a focus on the new Portuguese draft law and potential risks it can bring if it tramples on some fundamental principles such as the inviolability of contracts, protection of private property, equal treatment, and inadmissibility of retroactivity.
I agree with you, it sucks. To be honest you have a full right for complaining, especially about the ambiguity of the situation.
(I could be wrong) but my feeling is that PT/SEF doesn’t simply have capacity (or desire) to weed out sanctioned individuals, so it’s shelving those cases “for now”.
My hope is that there is still a chance for Portugal to restart the process for those applications.
In addition, there are known cases where Russian individuals filed a suit against SEF and won. As far as I’ve been told the case was simply about “Why is it taking so long time”, which sorta gives some weight to my theory.
It’s interesting to note that Russians are still able to apply for the Spanish GV as long as they apply from within Spain and not from a Spanish consulate in Russia. I wonder if such loopholes exist with other GV programs.
Just to offer a different perspective from a Ukrainian:
My family and I started the process in 2021, mainly because of the never-ending russian aggression (the war actually started in 2014). When the invasion started, most airports were bombed. We were lucky to be in Europe at the time, but our elderly parents were still in Ukraine and couldn’t leave immediately. The day they were going to travel by train to Poland to catch a flight to Portugal for their SEF bio-metrics appointment, a missile struck a train station. That scared the life out of them and they decided not to risk it. They missed their appointment and spent the next several months hiding in the basement of their house from 24/7 missile and drone attacks. The attacks are naked terrorism against civilians, mostly women with children and pensioners, since most men are fighting.
SEF was very helpful and accommodating, and they were able to reschedule their appointment. They could also have applied for a humanitarian visa, but we decided to proceed with GV so as not to put pressure on the welfare system. Fortunately, we are able to support our parents financially, while most of our fellow Ukrainian women and children are fleeing without any means, often in their pyjamas…
Meanwhile, life in russia goes on mostly unaffected. People are still able to travel, albeit via indirect routes (Turkey is fully packed with russian holidaymakers). Ukrainian pensioners, women, and children, on the other hand, risk a perilous journey by train that takes several days just to have a good night’s sleep without the sound of sirens. Our friend has an immobile blind mother who cannot even make it to a shelter during a night raid.
Appreciate there are exceptions (“The Night in Lisbon” by Remarque springs to mind). The process for russians&belarusians will likely be restarted in the future (or the fees and expenses will be reimbursed). Meanwhile, Ukrainian lives are lost and livelihoods are being destroyed…
Olga, you seem like a good person, and hope you are an exception to the 80% of russians who support the war. I wish you and your family well, and clear skies…
Frankly, the logic of law makers is not very obvious to me, if to consider the proposals from the logical point of view and taking into account the constitutional rights of human in EU.
My points are as follows:
“Oligarkhs” and other people at power, who really affect the policy of Russia, are successfully avoiding direct sanctions or just “suffer” from some public “punishments” like the arrest of the yacht and couple of houses. They and their families continue holding second/third passports, including from EU, travel across the globe and continue doing their business. The ban on new residence permits or extensions will not affect them as they will find/buy their way to get what they need, and for sure it will not be announced in the newspapers and blogs.
Upper middle class people (and these are generally the ones who invests in GV and similar programs), who invested in Portugal as in their second future home, are suffering the most, as:
they’ve spent a significant (for them) amount of money to fulfil the requirements of GV
their applications are blocked and probably will be denied
it is deemed close to impossible to sell the real estate they invested in (difficult to get paid, as EU bank accounts do not allow >€100k balance, plus Russian authorities deny the payments for selling the real estate to be received on the non-Russian bank accounts)
they meet additional restrictions in everyday’s life (€100k limit for the bank accounts in EU, horrible compliance procedures for incoming and outgoing payments, blocked credit cards [e.g. you can’t rent a car without a credit card], issues obtaining Schengen visas).
So the ban will severely affect them, but the objective is not clear.
People who moved to Portugal years ago on GV and all their life is now in Portugal since 5-7 years. They moved their families, businesses, center of life interests (not the least to escape from the regime), and now they suddenly are declared personae non gratae.
They are in the worst situation, but have no power to affect neither Russian nor Portuguese authorities.
My perception is that EU legislation initiatives are targeting the Russian/Belarussian upper middle class to evaluate the bad consequences of the ruling powers in their countries and to (not sure) raise the revolution against them. Strange idea, considering that since ca. 10 years in both Russia and Belarus you can’t even openly express anti-government position under the fear of criminal prosecution, and now you can even go to jail for 5-7 years just for reposting a funny anti-war meme.
The result is however very different from that:
The image of EU in general and Portugal in particular as “safe haven” for educated, qualified and highly initiative people (believe me, others can not earn enough here to save extra €600-700k for GV program), who are just willing to live in a fair community with transparent political and economical system, is completely ruined.
I had intentions to deploy part of my business in Portugal, even if it was not necessary businesswise, just because I had sympathy to the country. Now I will not, and Portugal won’t get my taxes, local people won’t get jobs in my company, and other industry members won’t gain access to our technologies.
Listening to the stories of my business counterparties from EU (Germany, France, CZ), people with Russian origin, who have moved like 15-20 years ago and have no links with the homeland and definitely no links with the roots of the current situation, I get shocked. People are getting demoted and fired just for having Russian origin. This makes me even more sure that I would change my mind and probably not target EU residence permit or citizenship anymore, since the declared values are very different from reality. Earlier jews, now Russians, who’s next? White healthy wealthy caucasian male?
I don’t remember anything like what I see now in relation to myself implemented towards US or German citizens after, say, bombing Belgrade (or is that “different”?), which supports the opinion of one of the topic participants that “Western” world still lives in the paradigm of its own supremacy.
As the outcome:
instead of benefitting from migration processes (and many people from Russia who “disagree” moved away) and attracting the most wealthy, educated and active immigrants, who on top of all are mostly against the current powers in Russia and Belarus, Portugal and EU warded all these people off and created a huge disappointment in minds.
sanctions on national reserves, companies, individuals and (in more general) the nations demonstrated the rest of the world what may happen to them in any time point should they do something different from what US tells them to do. I’d say it’s a bad story for the long run.
as a Russian, stuck blocked in GV since late 2020, I expect all and any further restrictions, up to the seizure of my real estate in Portugal (because why not rob these powerless wildmen).
Sorry for this cry of the heart, which maybe does not have the direct relation to the topic, but at the end of the day we’re all here to share the different points of view.
While understanding your sentiment, comparing the predicament of the wealthy russians to the suffering of the Jews is, to put it mildly, a bit of an exaggeration. The golden visa applicants are willing to shell out 350-500k+ on a golden visa in the first place because they do not want to leave the country of residence, while comfortably making money in the country of origin. It is not Portugal that has broken all laws of humanity, committed genocide, or razed entire cities to the ground killing women and children in the 21st century. Most of the world believes that the other country is to blame for the wealthy russians’s “travails”, and it is not Portugal.
All countries will still be providing humanitarian visas to the fleeing russians with serious grounds, or via intercompany transfers, travel visas, and student visas (still work in many countries).
The wealthy, educated and active immigrants will continue coming and more business will be created regardless, since Portugal and Europe have a much broader appeal.