The New York Times reports that Jaime Garcia-Legaz, the Spanish trade secretary, is aiming this announcement at Chinese and Russian investors who might have problems purchasing real estate in Spain because they are not European Union (EU) residents. Under Spanish law, visas are valid for up to 90 days to non-EU citizens. The new residency permits would be longer, although the length of the permit has yet to be determined, and non-EU citizens buying Spanish houses would not be automatically granted the right to work in Spain.
According to Spanish government data, there are about 700,000 unsold homes on the market. In 2011, housing purchases by foreigners rose 6% from the previous year, with 1,757 homes sold to Russians and 868 homes sold to Chinese buyers.