The Spanish golden visa

THE CORNER ORACLE - Andrew J. Masigan - The Philippine Star

MADRID – During the meeting of the Council of Ministers last month, the ministers reached a consensus to end the practice of granting golden visas to people who purchase properties worth 500,000 euros or more. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez justified the decision by stating that the practice has caused property prices to rise to a point that it is no longer affordable for the common Spaniard.

Whether or not the golden visa program has triggered a property boom is contentious. Only 0.2 percent of all property transactions in Spain are attributed to the program. Regardless, the decision is politically-driven and will likely come to pass.

The news of the program’s impending cancellation reverberated among the Filipino community here and back in the Philippines. Filipinos are among the top ethnic groups that avail of this program.

For those unaware, the golden visa allows its holder to become a resident of Spain. As such, he can live and work in Spain and travel freely across Schengen countries without a visa. This privilege extend to the golden visa holder’s spouse and dependents.

The program is ideal as it allows children to take advantage of Spain’s excellent education system while the parents can enjoy the Spanish lifestyle and superior health care system. And since the Philippines is a former colony, Filipinos are eligible to become Spanish citizens after just two years. It is the perfect “Plan B” to hedge against volatilities.

The disappointment among Filipinos is palpable, especially among those who planned to apply for a golden visa but had not come around to doing it yet.

The good news is that the cancellation of the program is still not in effect. The law must still be amended and experts estimate that it will take at least six months to put it into effect. Until then, golden visa applications will continue to be processed and granted to qualified applicants. Thus, Filipinos intending to avail of the program can still do so if they apply without delay.

A painless path to residency

For many, buying a property in Spain for purposes of a golden visa can be tedious. It involves identifying the right property, maintaining it, dealing with the legalities, paying annual property taxes and finding a tenant, if it is to be leased.

Maverick Filipino entrepreneur Injap Sia has come up with an innovative solution. Sia is building Madrid’s largest hotel in the Valdebebas district under his Hotel 101 brand. It will be another landmark bearing the Filipino flag in the heart of Spain.

Valdebabas is Madrid’s up and coming district which I liken to the MOA township in Pasay. It is home to the IFEMA Convention Center, the Real Madrid Sports Complex and is just ten minutes away from the Cuatro Torres financial district. It has its own train stop, being close to the Madrid International Airport. Valdebebas is the site of the Madrid F1 race in 2026.

Hotel 101 aspires to be the world’s largest full service three-star hotel chain with 500,000 rooms by the year 2040. Its hotel in Madrid is the second outside the Philippines. Hotel 101 boasts high occupancies thanks to its well-appointed rooms which are standardized across all properties.

Hotel 101 Madrid will have 680 rooms which investors can purchase as an investment. Gains are to be had through property appreciation and a monthly revenue share. More importantly, buying units worth 500,000 euros or more qualifies the investor and his family to a golden visa.

Each room costs approximately P10.9 million (subject to change) for which investors can earn anywhere from P296,460 to P988,200 annually, assuming the hotel achieves a 30 percent to 100 percent occupancy rate, respectively. Moreover, investors get 10 nights complimentary stay – five in Madrid and five in any Hotel 101 property. Altogether, this translates to an annual rate of return of 3.8 percent to 10.58 percent. It is a better-than-average yield, considering that the investors still gain from property appreciation.

Further, investors need not worry about operations and legalities as Hotel 101 takes care of it.

As for the golden visa, it is processed at no expense to the investor, care of the Spanish immigration expert, L&L-RSM Group.

Sia is disrupting the global hotel industry with his innovative business model. Those who wish to know more can contact [email protected] or call +63 9171045721.

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We wish the brave Filipinos of Atin Ito Godspeed on their mission today.

Atin Ito is a coalition of Filipino patriots who launched the first civilian supply mission to the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea last December. Its second mission is planned to take place today.

Setting sail from the shores of Zambales, the mission, comprised of two main civilian boats escorted by 100 small fishing vessels, will assert the Philippines’ sovereign rights within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Masinloc and the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc.

Bajo de Masinloc is a place of tension between the Philippines and China. It is where Filipino frontliners and fisherfolk are harassed, intimidated and endangered by Chinese militia.

Atin Ito is inviting international observers to join the mission to document the situation in the West Philippine Sea. There, they will witness the challenges faced by our countrymen.

We commend the brave folks behind Atin Ito.

As for China, we urge its communist government to cease its bad behavior and adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas to which it is a signatory. It must acknowledge the final and legally binding decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which recognizes the disputed waters as part of the Philippines’ EEZ. Good global citizens do not pick and choose which treaties to respect according to what serves its interest.

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Email: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @aj_masigan

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