In order to facilitate the entry of foreign workers into Portugal and thus address the lack of human resources felt in the country, the Portuguese State has made an amendment to the regime for the entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners.
With this amendment, conditions are also in place for implementing the Agreement on Mobility between the member states of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, as well as establishing foreign citizens in the country that wish to do remote work.
But what are the effective changes in labour matters?
1. New visa for seeking work in Portugal
This new visa enables foreign citizens to enter and remain in Portuguese territory to seek work, with the following characteristics:
- With a maximum duration of 120 days, extendable for a further 60 days;
- Authorises the holder to carry out dependent employment activities until the visa expires or until the grant of the residence permit;
- The holder of this visa may also apply for a temporary residence permit in Portuguese territory.
At the end of the maximum period of validity, if the applicant does not have a labour relation and the process of document regularisation is not commenced, the citizen must leave Portugal and can only reapply for a new visa with the same purpose one year after the expiry of the previous visa.
Concerning the residence visa for the practice of dependent professional activity, the applicant needs to meet the general requirements necessary to obtain any visa and present a promise or contract of employment or expression of interest from an employer.
This amendment exempts citizens from the previous obligation of closing a work contract or presenting a promise of a work contract before entering Portuguese territory.
In the same sense, with visas for the practice of self-employment activity, it is no longer enforceable that the applicant enters into a contract for the provision of services or be the recipient of a contractual proposal before entering Portuguese territory.
2. New visa for foreign citizens wishing to work from Portugal for foreign employers (Remote Workers)
To safeguard the situation of digital nomads, this visa allows the entry and stay of employees and self-employed professionals to practice activities provided remotely to an employer with a residence or head office outside Portuguese territory. This also applies to residence visas.
In the regime previously in force, the solutions closest to this reality were the residence and temporary stay visas for self-employment, which entail the provision of services to an employer with residence or head office within Portuguese territory, and a residence visa for settlement of citizens who live off their own income (rent, lease, income from financial investments or retirement).
3. Visas for nationals of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries
When the visa applicant is a national of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries where the Agreement on Mobility is in force, the procedure becomes more agile through the following alterations:
- The prior opinion of the Immigration and Border Service is waived;
- The competent services will directly and immediately consult the Schengen Information System (“SIS”) databases;
- The issuing of a visa can only be refused if there is an entry and stay ban indicated in the SIS;
- The purpose of the residence visa may now be to accompany a family member who has applied for a residence visa.
Thus, it is no longer necessary for family reunification that the family member in Portugal has already obtained a residence permit, being now sufficient that the citizen has required it.
A residence pre-authorisation will be issued along with the residence visa with information to obtain the residence permit and the provisional attribution of the Fiscal Identification Number (NIF) and Social Security Identification Number.
4. Permission to practice a professional or complementary activity
During the pendency of the residence permit application, for a cause which is not imputable to the applicant, the applicant may practice a professional activity. This also applies to holders of a residence permit for research, study, professional internship, or volunteer work, which are allowed to practice a professional activity, dependent or independent, complementary to the activity which originated the visa.
Also, the residence permits granted to internships are now valid for 6 months or, in case the internship is shorter, for the duration of the internship program, plus 3 months. In the case of a long-term internship, the residence permit is valid for 2 years.
5. EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card, granted to third-country nationals for the practice of highly qualified activities, will have an initial validity of 2 years, renewable for successive periods of 3 years. To apply for an EU Blue Card, the applicant must have a valid work contract with a duration of at least 1 year, meet the minimum salary threshold ( 665 EUR in 2021), present a valid travel document, an application for a visa or a visa, and a valid residence permit or a long-term national visa.
Another significant change is that for the attribution of the Social Security Number, NIF and SNS (National Health Service) user number, visa applications will now be communicated to the IEFP, Social Security, Tax Authority and the Ministry of Health.
Need help setting yourself up in Portugal or have questions regarding this new regime? Give us a heads-up! Softlanding is the right partner to guide you through all the stages, assist you with the visa application process and arrange all documentation and requirements.
Our reliable sources with the updated information: Diário da República nº 164/2022, Series I of 2022-08-25; Legal and Tax Services Firm Garrigues; Law Firm Abreu Advogados; Law Firm Telles.