Spain will scrap ‘golden visas’ that allow wealthy non-EU residents to stay if they buy real estate

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s government said Monday it plans to scrap so-called “golden visas” that allow wealthy people from outside the European Union to obtain residency permits on investing more than half a million euros (dollars) in real estate.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his minority coalition government would study the reform in the weekly Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

Speaking Monday, Sánchez said the reform was part of the government’s push to make housing “a right, not a speculative business.”

The government says some 10,000 such visas have been issued since the measure was brought into law in 2013 by a previous right-wing Popular Party government as a means to attract foreign investors.

“Golden visas” are strongly criticized for spurring property price hikes and speculation in the housing sector. Soaring house prices have long been a major problem for many Spaniards, particularly in the country’s major cities.

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