These controversial residency permits will only be extended if investors who have bought real estate reside in it on a fixed basis or if they rent it out to those who do, the head of the Socialist government explained.

Portugal has been issuing the “residence permits for investment” since 2012, when it was receiving financial aid from the European Union and seeking foreign capital.

The provision, which also exists in other European countries such as Spain, has already been revised. The last modification excluded investments in Lisbon and Porto, in order to lower the pressure on prices in the real estate sector.

In the last decade, Portugal has raised a total of almost 6.8 billion euros (about 38 billion reais) in exchange for approximately 11,600 residence permits granted to applicants willing to buy property worth at least 500,000 euros (2.8 million reais), invest at least 1.5 million euros (8.4 million reais), or create 10 jobs.

To tackle the housing crisis, the government on Thursday presented a series of measures aimed at increasing the number of available homes.

“In these last 10 years, rents have registered an increase much higher than inflation,” Costa said. “The current prices are too high for the Portuguese market,” he added.

The program presented, which can be publicly consulted for a month before being adopted by the government on March 16, represents a value of 900 million euros (5 billion reais).