At the last cabinet meeting, ministers agreed to end the issuance of visas for the purchase of property worth 500,000 euros or more.

The visa scheme was created by Mariano Rajoy's government in 2013. It was seen as a way to attract much-needed foreign investment, especially in the wake of the euro zone crisis that hit Spain's real estate sector particularly hard. 

According to Transparency International, a total of 6,200 visas for property investment had been issued by 2023, but it is suggested that the figure is even higher. 

Attack on the Prime Minister of Slovakia: Shot in the stomach! Attack on the Prime Minister of Slovakia: Shot in the stomach!

According to the data released, almost half of Spain's Golden Visa beneficiaries were Chinese. Russians came second with 1,159, followed by Iranians with 203, US citizens with 179 and UK citizens with 177. 

The Golden Visa program also provided residence permits in exchange for investing €2 million or more in government bonds or investing in emerging Spanish companies.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that his government's intention to abolish the scheme was aimed at "guaranteeing that housing is a right and not just a matter of commercial speculation".

Most of the visas issued were linked to the purchase of property in areas where the housing market is under great pressure, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Alicante and the Balearic Islands, where it is almost impossible for people who live, work and pay taxes every day to find affordable housing. 

Last year, the government passed a housing law aimed at limiting rent increases in areas where rent increases are soaring. 

While critics say abolishing the visa scheme will not improve the situation, pressure has also come from outside Spain, with the European Commission urging EU members to restrict such schemes due to security concerns, especially since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In 2022, the UK government also ended a visa program that allowed wealthy foreign nationals to settle in the country if they brought assets with them. 

The following year, Ireland abolished the Golden Visa and Portugal revised its version to no longer grant residency in exchange for property.