In an interview with CNN Portugal, the prime minister of Portugal Antonio Costa had announced that the NHR scheme "no longer makes sense" and will "end in 2024".
This raises many questions to people who are in Portugal, are planning to move to Portugal or are already in the process of moving. We decided to write this post to tell you what we know and what we don't know about this anticipated change. We will update it as we find out more.
We will also discuss it in our upcoming webinar on October 12, 2023.
Is it actually going to happen?
We cannot know for sure until the end of the legislative process, but probably yes. The socialist government has a majority and making a vague announcement followed by a change of legislation has been the typical way in which this prime minister operated in the past.
When will NHR go away?
The PM said "2024". This does not mean that on 1 Jan 2024, the NHR program will be gone. It is actually more likely that the program will persist through the entire 2024, since legislative changes take time. However, there is a possibility that the legislation will be rushed as part of the budget and the program will indeed by cancelled on Jan 1, 2024, but it will be hard for the government to achieve and open to legal attacks. We estimate that the program will end sometime in the middle of 2024, but we could be wrong.
Will it fully go away?
That is the biggest enigma. When the prime minister announced the end to the golden VISA program, public pressure eventually made him go back on his word and keep some of the golden visas routes alive. With the NHR, the prime minister mainly complained about the reduced tax on pension income. It is fairly likely that the anticipated loss of skilled labor will lead to some walking back and keeping parts of it. It is unfortunately impossible to tell.
What about people who already have NHR status?
People who already have the status are unlikely to be affected. This would be a violation of a constitutional principle in Portugal and the prime minister himself noted that "whoever has the status will keep it".
I'm already in Portugal and am a legal resident. Should I apply for NHR as soon as possible?
Yes. Considering the risk, that would be the safest and smartest thing to do.
I'm in Portugal but not yet a legal resident. What should I do?
To the extent possible, you should try to rush in view of the uncertainty.
I wanted to move to Portugal but haven't yet started the process. Should I continue?
It is likely that if you start the process now, you will still make it to Portugal and be part of the NHR regime. However, there is no certainty. If you tend to procrastinate, we advise against waiting. If you don't abandon your plan, you should rush.
What if I'm going to miss the deadline? Should I still move to Portugal?
We will be here to advise on the best strategy in a world with or without NHR.
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