The Spanish Government will promote an expedited process for issuing visas to foreigners, granting residency permits to those foreigners who decide to invest in Spain and contribute to the creation of employment.

It was thus resolved by the Spanish Council of Ministers on 26th April, 2013 within the framework of the approval of the National Reforms Programme, which includes a new Entrepreneurial Support and Internationalisation Act intended to reach a more favourable entrepreneurial environment, promoting and facilitating the creation of companies and the possibility for viable projects to be fully developed and internationalised.

The above is but a reference to the resolutions of the Council of Ministers, the content of which is to be defined in the said Act. Published in the Official Gazette of the Spanish Parliament dated 22nd March, 2013, was a bill on support measures for entrepreneurs and on incentive and growth of employment generation which did not contemplate the aforesaid rules on visas and residency permits, so these may be included in the processing of this act through Parliament or in another legal text.

A trial balloon was floated last year from certain areas of the Government on the possibility of granting temporary residency (not, therefore, employment permits) to those who purchased a property for more than € 160,000. This news had a considerable impact among nationals of European and Asian non-EU countries, who assumed that such a measure had been actually implemented although it was nothing but a trial balloon as aforesaid.

The brief reference note from the Council of Ministers issued yesterday, the 26th April, merely clarifies that measures will be taken to facilitate the expediting of visas (which has been a constant demand from the tourist sector) and that the granting of residency following the applicant’s “investment” in Spain will be facilitated; therefore, the news published last year as a trial balloon and the note from the Council of Ministers are not contradictory and the possibility does exist that measures intended to expedite visas for the fundamental purpose of facilitating foreign tourists’ arrival in Spain (making things easier for Chinese, Russian, etc visitors has been often discussed in certain areas of the tourist sector) or the purchase – investment – of real estate, may become a reality this year.

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