The Passport Index is a world ranking that analyzes the most powerful passports in the world, that means, the passports that give more freedom of movement to its citizens.

Like every year, in early 2020, the ranking led by Japan was presented. In any case, due to the current circumstances that are being experienced with the coronavirus crisis and when half the world is confined to their country without being able to leave, the ranking has varied substantially.

We can affirm that Japan has maintained its position at the top of the table, followed by Singapore, which has entered the second quarter of 2020. Third, we find Germany and South Korea tied, and it is in fourth position where we find Spain, along with Italy, Finland and Luxembourg.

As explained by the experts, the circumstances of the pandemic have changed, in some cases, the power of certain passports.

 

The importance of health security

Traditionally, the strength of each passport was measured, among other things, by the country’s economic situation or geopolitical issues. Well, the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of the quality of the health system and emergencies of each country.

According to experts, it will be interesting to see if health security will be one of the aspects to consider when evaluating the option of acquiring a second passport in a specific country.

If we focus on Spain, the health system is characterized by being public and universal. Also, during the Covid-19 crisis, the Spanish executive has taken different measures and decisions that have been applauded by the World Health Organization.

 

The good positioning of Spain

The fourth position that ranking gives to Spain shows the value of having Spanish nationality. Firstly, with this passport we can travel to 188 countries without the need for a visa, this means that we can enter many countries without asking for any prior authorization or doing bureaucratic procedures.

Likewise, Spain enjoys an excellent quality of life. Cosmopolitan cities, but also dream beaches in the Balearic Islands are just some of the options that the country offers us. Madrid and Barcelona are the two most important cities, with a better balance between work and personal life, according to numerous rankings. In addition, and as we have previously pointed out, the Spanish healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the world, which is one more attraction when it comes to investing in Spain.

Finally, it is interesting to note that, through the Golden Visa Spain program, the investor obtains the residence permit for himself, but also for his family, spouse and children.

The following is the top 10 of the index:

1. Japan (191 destinations)

2. Singapore (190)

3. South Korea and Germany (189)

4. Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg (188)

5. Denmark and Austria (187)

6. Sweden, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal (186)

7. USA, UK, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland (185)

8. Czech Republic, Greece, Malta and New Zealand (184)

9. Canada and Australia (183)

10. Hungary (182)

 

Source: CNN

 

Restaurants and bars are another sectors highly affected by the coronavirus crisis. The locals cannot open their doors and for three weeks they have not received diners. Despite the situation, they have wanted to contribute their bit to fight this situation and help the most disadvantaged to have food.

This is the case of ‘Comer Contigo’, an initiative that ensures that no person is left without food these days. The association has served more than 600 meals since last Thursday and more and more chefs are joining the initiative. The dishes are served to those with few resources, but also to doctors from hospital centers in Barcelona.

Another initiative, the first of all to be born, is ‘Health Warriors’, which offers food to health staff, the great heroes of this crisis. Currently, more than 100 restaurants have joined. Another association is ‘Food for Good Bcn’, which has taken advantage of the raw material left over in many restaurants to prepare dishes for a good cause.

At the same time, the famous chef José Andrés has come to Spain to continue working with his project: World Central Kitchen. In this way, and with the help of different collaborators, they serve food to disadvantaged people in different cities of Catalonia.

This is only a small example of the solidarity that Spanish citizens are showing in recent days. In addition to food, there are those who offer to walk pets, make purchases for the elderly or offer psychological care via the internet to better cope with confinement.

Managing the crisis in Spain

Spain is one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus crisis and the Spanish government is deploying all its means to control, in the best possible way, the pandemic. As we explain in this post, health management is one of the strengths, since the authorities are managing each and every emergency in a fast and orderly manner.

Likewise, the population remains confined, and the police monitor that no one skips the lockdown. Only essential services personnel such as doctors, nurses, transporters, etc. can go to work, the rest of the people must respect the lockdown until the alarm state is over.

 

With the coronavirus crisis, the Spanish health system and the others from the rest of the countries are on everyone’s lips. Every day, doctors, nurses and other health staff work hard against an enemy, the Covid-19, which, in more than one case, is testing the health systems and models of each and every country affected.

Although it is true that Spain is one of the countries where the coronavirus pandemic is having the most impact and hospitals are almost at the limit due to thousands of cases, the Spanish healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the world, ranking among the first positions in numerous international rankings. And this is being demonstrated with the current management of the Covid-19.

Among the main measures to alleviate the coronavirus, the Ministry of Health has enabled new spaces such as hospitals so that everyone in need can be attended by health staff. In this way, private clinics have become government-run public centers. Likewise, large spaces such as pavilions are also enabled for coronavirus patients. In all these cases, the healthcare that the Spanish government is offering is completely free, so that all citizens can be properly cared for.

In parallel, ICU beds have also been expanded for more seriously ill patients. In the case of the Community of Madrid, it has gone from 641 to 1.429 beds, more than double. In the case of Catalonia, the 652 ICU beds under normal conditions have been expanded to 1.391.

Everything you need to know about the Spanish healthcare system

Spanish healthcare is one of the main attractions of the country and it is an element to take into account when evaluating the possibility of establishing in this country. The Spanish health system is mainly characterized by two principles, universality and free; this means that the entire population has the right to access Spanish healthcare, whenever and wherever they need without any cost.

According to a report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, which evaluates the best healthcare systems in the world, Spain is in seventh position, second only to France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore. Once again, this ranking highlights the health boom in Spain with highly qualified professionals and world-class healthcare centers. Likewise, we cannot overlook the fact that Spain is the second country with the highest life expectancy in Europe.

Health, an essential element to consider

When considering the possibility of acquiring citizenship or residence by investing in another country, it is important to take into account certain factors such as the quality of life of the territory and other elements such as education or health. And, most residency and investment programs are extensible to the relatives of the interested party, which means that the couple and the children, under 18 years of age, can take advantage of the rights granted by these programs.

If you are considering the possibility of obtaining citizenship or residence by investment, we can help you. We accompany you during all phases of the investment project, offering you personalized and tailored attention. With a multicultural team we work efficiently and transversally.

Contact us!

Empresa Exterior, an online journal about Spain’s foreign business, has interviewed our CEO, Oriol Molas, with the aim of knowing how the coronavirus crisis is affecting foreign investment, especially within the real estate sector.

Likewise, Molas has explained the need to have a plan B in crisis situations and how Orience International is helping their clients.

Among the most important points of the interview are:

  • Investments that appeared to be underway have not been canceled
  • We keep in daily contact with our clients to help them at all times
  • In situations such as the current one, the need to have a plan B would, citizenship or residence in another country, is highlighted
  • With the Covid-19 crisis, the international investor with multiple residences and / or citizenships has been able to decide where to spend this time
  • The crisis will pass and those characteristics that made an attractive market last over time

Read the interview here!

The Spanish Cabinet has today approved an aid plan for tenants having trouble paying the rental fee. The following points stand out:

  • Suspension of evictions for 6 months from the end of the alarm state
  • The automatic 6-month extension of rental contracts to prevent abusive increases
  • Direct aid of up to € 900 after the crisis

This plan includes microcredits guaranteed by the State at zero cost.

The objective is that all unemployed people, those affected by a temporary employment record and the self-employed who have seen their income significantly reduced due to COVID-19, can benefit.

These measures have been announced, after the Council of Ministers, the spokesperson and Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, the second vice president of Social Rights, Pablo Iglesias, and the third vice president, Nadia Calviño.

A distinction has been made between small and large owners. The small owners will be guaranteed the full collection of the rents, and the investment and home funds, which will assume part of the impact of these measures and you will have to carry out restructuring of the debts of the tenants. The idea is for the State to take over with public funds the debts of all those tenants in situations of vulnerability due to the Covid-19 crisis, a situation that can lead to exemption from payment to thousands of households.

An automatic 6-month extension of all rental contracts has also been approved, which means that no tenant with a current contract can raise their rent for the next 6 months.

Regarding microcredits (without interest costs or commissions) they can be repaid in up to 6 years. If after these 6 years they have not been returned, an additional term of 4 more years will be enabled.

The conditions for tenants’ access to microcredit programs are also expanded, which will be less restrictive than in other cases in which the concept of “vulnerable housing” is applied. In this case, all unemployed people, from ERTO or with reduced working hours, and the self-employed who do not reach the limit of three times the IPREM (increase for children and dependent dependents) are allowed to participate.

In any case, these tenants will always be able to take advantage of the ICO credit lines, and families who cannot afford to pay the microcredits will have direct state aid to pay off the debt with the ICO.

It is anticipated that the amount of the aid could reach a maximum amount of € 900 per month and up to 100% of the principal and interest of the subscribed loan. In addition, a grant of € 200 per month could also be approved to cover the costs of maintenance, community and basic supplies with the limit of 100% of these.

If you want to know the measures that the Spanish government has aproved due to the Covid-19, real the next article.

If you have any doubt, our team will be very pleased to answer any questions you could have. Contact us!

According to numerous reports, sources close to the coalition government confirm that the possibility of suspension of rent is being studied for those people who have become vulnerable due to this economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, regardless of who their landlord is.  This means that all those who cannot afford to pay the rent for their houses due to the loss of their job, an ERTE or a reduction in working hours will be able to be accommodated. This measure will also include the self-employed and SMEs that are suffering a substantial drop in their income.

It is proposed to establish an extendable moratorium period of two months and compensation to owners. The suspension of the payment of home rentals will be extended to the payment of premises and offices in the case of self-employed persons and SMEs, who, as mentioned before, have a significant loss of income.

For lessors, gradual financial compensation would be offered, which could range from 100% of the amount in the case of a two-property owner, to just 5% for large holders or those with more than eight rented properties.

The initiative includes the duration of said suspension of the payment of the rent: during the next two months, extendable to the following month once the state of alarm ends. In addition, all those contracts that end during the validity of the alarm status may be automatically extended for three months.

It remains to be specified how the vulnerability situation can be proven, although it is intended to facilitate access through the presentation of documents or with a responsible statement. Another point from which the initiative starts is that abusive rent increases will be prevented in the six months following the implementation of this measure

Within the package of economic measures approved by the Government is included the moratorium on the payment of mortgages, but not that of rents, something criticized by unions and different associations. However, Nadia Calviño asks for one more week to study the measures on minimum income and rents. The economic vice presidency and the Ministry of Finance requested more time to study the proposals that were discussed at a meeting on Monday and design them avoiding “side effects.” Its objective, as these last departments transferred, is that the measures put in place are well designed to respond effectively to social needs and without generating other possible side effects.Aid for rent can also be used for housing, beyond the premises and offices of SMEs and the self-employed, but it will be necessary to distinguish between small owners and large holders of housing who, at a time like this, have to settle the shoulder so no one is left behind.

As reported on March 24 in the newspaper El Confidencial and regarding the creation of a minimum vital income, the Government intends to allocate it to those people who have not been able to avail themselves of the first package of social measures approved last Tuesday.  Therefore, it would not have a universal character and, moreover, its duration would be temporary, depending on the duration of the effects of the economic crisis as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. It would be, according to Executive sources, a form of minimum income “to protect those who have no income or have seen their incomes reduced.” This proposal is counting on allies of a transversal spectrum, which ranges from the third sector and social groups to the vice president of the ECB Luis de Guindos, who has defended a “minimum emergency income”.

Due to this situation, from Orience International, as advisers in legal, financial and strategic matters for international investors, we are available to all our clients and to all involved people who want to get advice, whether they are residents of Spain or have any investment in the country and consider it important and useful to have the help of a team of professionals in the Real Estate sector.

To do this, you can contact us via email sr@orienceinternational.com sending your questions or requesting more information about our professional advisory services.

Discover all the services of Orience Premium Club.

 

As part of the measures to contain the transmission of COVID-19, the recommendation for citizens is to continue to follow the usual rules of food safety and prevention facilitating the appropriate authorities to contain the spread of the virus.

We also provide the following recommendations for shopping food:

  • Avoid going to the supermarket if you have fever or respiratory symptoms. In these cases, ask someone for help.
  • Only one person has to leave. As far as possible the most vulnerable people should stay at home.
  • Go out and buy only when needed and plan to minimize the number of visits grocery.
  • Take an alcoholic hand sanitizer with your hands and use it often.
  • Preferably carry your own shopping bag or cart and frequently disinfect them with the same alcoholic hand sanitizer solution.
  • If you pick up carts or baskets from the supermarket, disinfect the contact area with your hands alcohol solution.
  • Wear disposable gloves to grab food.
  • Touch as little of the food as possible, even when it is packaged. Try to make sure you want to take the product before you take it. Do not leave it again after touching it.
  • Be careful of everything you touch, such as door handles and displays, screens, keyboards for payment, elevator buttons, money, etc. Disinfect your hands with alcohol solution whenever needed.
  • Always keep the minimum safety distance of two meters with others and avoid agglomerations.
  • When returning home, wash your hands with soap and water. If you see it necessary you can take additional measures such as cleaning the packaging with a disinfectant solution and removing the outer packaging.
  • Clean fruits and vegetables by adding a few drops of bleach to the water.

 

The capital of Catalonia is a major economic center in Spain, with a range of business opportunities, entrepreneurial culture and desire to thrive.  That’s why now it’s the best time for internationals investors to buy luxury real estate in Barcelona, one of the most beautiful cities of Europe.

During the past years, the real estate sector in Spain has recovered, reaching sales figures significantly higher than in 2017. This boom has happened because of the strong international investment in the Spanish real estate market caused due the advantages of the Golden Visa program. In fact, the real estate sector has reaffirmed its recovery in Spain with the luxury homes sales, that have risen by 27% last year.

With all of this, what was believed to fall quickly just four years ago, has now become a stabilization of prices that are gradually increasing. While the rise of shopping flats it’s not exaggerated, the revitalization of the sector and the bubble of rental prices, especially in Barcelona, make it more interesting to buy real estate as an investment.

Protagonism of Barcelona

Nowadays, there is a huge number of international investors that want to buy luxury real estate in Barcelona which means a sharp increase in the average selling price, that soared by 19% in the first half of 2018.

According to the data of the Ministry of Development, luxury real estate transactions (carried out for an amount of more than 900.000 euros) increased by 34% during 2017.

Favourable scenario 

The expansive situation in which the Spanish economy is right now comes with a lower unemployment and access to credit, which is starting to be provided a little more. Indeed, the number of unemployed decreased by 458,900 people in 2018, a decrease of unemployment by 10,79%. In fact, the unemployment rate was 16,4% in 2018 and 14,2% in 2019.

The areas where luxury home sales rose the most were the main Spanish cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, and holiday destinations, which recorded an all-time record in the number of prime residential property transactions.

About the future

As for the evolution prospects for the luxury real estate market it is believed that will increase steadily in Spain, since it’s been going that way for the past six years. In this way, the expansion phase of the real estate sector, leaded until last year by large cities, is gradually giving way to medium-sized capitals on the premium market of coastal areas.

These are more focused on the second residence in which there is a growing interest in high-end housing so right now it’s definitely the best time to buy luxury real estate in the most touristic cities in Spain like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia.

For Spain, Portugal and Andorra, the most sought-after areas for residential investors are currently the Costa del Sol, with the rebound of new construction in cities as Marbella, after several years of paralysis, the Costa Blanca, the Balearic Islands and the great capitals that we have been mentioning.  Precisely in Marbella, the number of luxury transactions has rebounded no less than 50% year-on-year.

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Last year’s data in terms of Golden Visa authorizations in Spain have reflected the effectiveness of this country’s programme, becoming one of the most requested European Golden Visa along with the programmes from Greece and Portugal.

Given these positive circumstances, we have consider the importance of reminding you the needed requirements in order to achieve the Golden Visa Spain and to enjoy the benefits provided by it.

Main points to keep in mind

Since in Spain the age of majority is 18, being an over 18 year old international investor would be the first requirements.

Of course, there are other compulsory requirements to get the Golden Visa Spain such as:

  • Making, at least, one investment in Spain of 000 euros
  • Having your permanent home in another non-European country
  • Proving not to have any criminal record for the last 5 years
  • Obtaining a NIE number (in Spanish, Número de Identificación de Extranjeros)
  • Proving to have the necessary resources to face the expenses during the residency in Spain
  • Getting an authorized public or private insurance
  • Paying the visa fee

By meeting these requirements, you will be closer in order to achieve the Golden Visa Spain.

Choosing your investment

To be considered an investor, the candidate will have to make at least one of the multiple ways of investment determined by the Golden Visa programme, which imply a significant amount of capital.

The first option in order to get the Golden Visa Spain is investing the minimum expenditure of 500.000 euros in real state.

Secondly, it is possible to opt for the Residence visa for capital investors (in Spanish, Visado de Residencia para Inversores de Capital or RIC) by investing 2 million euros in Spanish government bond.

In the third place, if the investment is at least 1 million euros in shares of Spanish companies or in Spanish bank deposits, the investor could get the Residence visa for the acquisition of real state (in Spanish, Visado de Residencia por Adquisición de Bienes Inmuebles or RIV):

Lastly, applicants can carry out at least one business project in Spain considered in the general interest because of its technological/scientific and economical value. This way, investors will achieve the Residence visa for entrepeneurs and business activity (in Spanish, Visado de Residencia para Emprendedores y Actividad Empresarial or REM)

It is very important to remark that the investor must prove that the minimum amount required to get the Golden Visa has been made within 60 days of applying for it.

An opportunity filled with potential

Thanks to the 2013 Entrepreneurs Law, the beneficiaries of the Golden Visa Spain can make use of different assets. The main one is being allowed with a one year residence permit without the necessity of a TIE (in Spanish, Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros).

During this period, the international investor doesn’t need to stay in the country (more than 183 days) but can visit it from time to time. It can be remarked that the Golden Visa can be renewed for two years if the beneficiary wants to keep investing in Spain.

Among other benefits we find the freedom to move through the Schengen area. The freedom of movement through the Schengen territory is allowed for up to three months within one semester with the obtention of the Golden Visa.

Furthermore, we find the co-ownership of the previous rights to the couples and children of investors benefitted from the Golden Visa.

So, since the investment to complete the request for the Golden Visa in Spain is very significant and the benefits in stake are so important, it’s necessary to count on a group of experts who guide you as an investor in order to prevent administrative and legal risks. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us!

When it comes to visiting, Spain is always getting the best places on amount of international visits, as well as on amount of money spent in the country by tourists, which leave it out of the question to consider if it’s worth it visiting Spain. For investors however, the attractive a country or city is for tourists, while important, especially for investors whose income depends on visits; many other aspects come into place. And one of this variables is what city of Spain is the best to invest in. In this article we tell you why invest in Barcelona.

Even with struggles, Spain has a very diversified territory, with each autonomous community representing a unique opportunity for investors. But, if one city must be chosen right now to invest in Spain, Barcelona, one of the most visited cities in the world, is also an exciting place to invest in right now.

Opportunities to invest in Barcelona

Barcelona is a vibrant city, that breathes life, culture and art in every corner of its fascinating streets. But what does this bohemian, cosmopolitan major city of Spain, Europe, and the world has to offer to investors?

For international investors considering Spain, one of the greatest markets in the Mediterranean country has been real estate, and now the Spain is largely out of the crisis, and real estate prices have recovered from the bubble burst; prices of real estate have becoming attractive once again.

Most people would definitely want their own secondary house in Barcelona, or to just retire in this ever living city. But what about being the one providing rental houses in Barcelona? As so many tourists want to visit the city every year, and being it an urban place, where people would want to live the actual Barcelona scene; renting a vacation house would be a very good opportunity.

Why investing in Barcelona?

The capital of Catalonia is a major economic center in Spain, and it’s a very diverse one, with a wide range of business opportunities, favored by a diverse population, with an entrepreneurial culture and desire to thrive; which makes Barcelona a main target for international investment in Spain.

As Spain has been able to get out of the tough crisis that attacked the country in 2008, many Spanish people have been to get an employ, and real estate prices have increased and are projected to continue this way. And Barcelona is one of the cities in Spain to buy real estate.

One thing is true, it’s a good time to invest in Barcelona, thanks to the mix of a beautiful city that has been attracting visitors for years, with the fact that it is a city of huge important in Spain, both, economically, and historically; as well as the prices of real estate in the Catalan capital.

Especially for investor interested in purchasing real estate in Barcelona, the business of real state in the city of Gaudí is thriving right now, making it a good time to invest in Barcelona, as the outlook is positive now, and properties can be still found at very good deals, always being aware of factors such as the location of the property.