Portugal’s Tech Visa, enrolled in the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship StartUP Portugal, is set to take effect on January 1, 2019.
The Portuguese Tech Visa was created with the aim of ensuring that highly qualified staff, especially from the technological area from outside the European Union, can access jobs created by Portuguese companies in a simplified way.
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This program is aimed at technological and innovative companies, inserted in the global market, that wish to attract highly qualified and specialized staff from countries not included in the Schengen Area into Portugal.
“Tech Visa is a fundamental piece in the strategy to make Portugal a more attractive destination to invest so that we can continue to create jobs and wealth”
The program was first announced on November 7 at Web Summit in Lisbon.
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Deputy Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, said at the time that the “Tech Visa is a fundamental piece in the strategy to make Portugal a more attractive destination to invest so that we can continue to create jobs and wealth.”
Tech Visa is a certification program for technological and innovative companies for the purpose of granting visas or residence permits to highly qualified third-country nationals who wish to carry out their activity in accordance with Administrative Rule 328 / 2018.
According to the Portuguese government, “It is essential to create a more efficient and efficient program for granting a residence permit / residence permit for highly qualified immigrants, legally for the Government to certify the companies that, through the conclusion of a contract of employment with cadres highly qualified and / or specialized staff, to enable the program to expedite the granting of a residence visa / residence permit, designated as the ‘Tech Visa’ program, provided that all other legal requirements are fulfilled.”
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IAPMEI will be responsible for examining the eligibility and merit of the candidate companies, involving several entities, such as the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and the Directorate General for Consular Affairs in the process of granting residence visas for professionals hired by certified companies.
Portugal Tech Visa Requirements
The evaluation of candidates will be based on the potential, degree of technological innovation and orientation towards the internationalization of the companies, which cannot have more than 50% of employees contracted simultaneously under the Tech Visa, being this limit of 80% for companies from the interior, according to a government announcement summarized by Dinheiro Vivo.
The Tech Visa applies to technological and innovative companies active in the field of technology and innovation and who wish to hire highly qualified third-country nationals, so a list of certified companies will be established.
Applicants under Tech Visa will be evaluated and selected on the basis of several criteria, including:
- being legally constituted
- not having Social Security and Treasury debts
- not being considered companies in restructuring
Applicants must “have a positive net position, as evidenced by the latest available Simplified Business Information (IES),” as well as “develop an activity to produce internationable goods and services.”
In addition, applicants must “prove the technological and innovative basis by meeting at least two of the following requirements”:
- a ‘startup’ established for at least two years with activity in high or medium-high technology sectors, or of strong knowledge intensity
- have an average annual growth in turnover of more than 20% in the last three years
- have more than 15% highly skilled workers
- have raised venture capital through venture capital or business angels in the last three years
- have investment projects approved in Portugal 2020 or in the program to be created under the EU financial framework until 2027 in the areas of productive innovation, qualified entrepreneurship and creative or R & D Enterprises.
After this process, certified companies must ensure that highly qualified workers meet a set of requirements, including third-country nationals and not permanently residing in the European Union; have the regularized taxpayer status in terms of Social Security and Tax, have no criminal record and “no less than 18 years old.”
Employees qualified under Tech Visa must carry out highly qualified activities, complying with the requirements set forth in the ordinance, and “have a minimum annual salary equivalent to 2.5 times the index of social support,” as well as “having a command of the Portuguese language or appropriate to the duties to be performed.”
Companies that wish to be included in the list of companies certified to receive foreign citizens through the program must apply under the terms of the notice to be published by IAPMEI, “which will define the application periods and the specific requirements to observe.”
The certification of the company is valid for two years, renewable for equal periods.
Portugal Tech Visa Background
Tech Visa is a certification program for companies in the areas of technology and innovation for hiring foreigners to the European Union to grant visas by the Consulates and authorization of residence by the SEF, provided for in the Aliens Act.
This program, whose signature was announced by Prime Minister António Costa at the Venture Summit, is combined with the Startup Visa, whose Ordinance was signed at the Web Summit of 2017, both of which are provided for in the StartUp Portugal National Strategy for Entrepreneurship.
Companies in the area of technology and innovation that wish to hire highly qualified staff from countries outside the European Union will have to apply for the Tech Visa Program, being evaluated and selected based on criteria defined by the signed Directive.
To participate in this Program, companies assume a set of obligations and workers wishing to hire will have to meet eligibility requirements defined in the law.
These workers are issued a term of responsibility that will be one of the necessary documents in the process of issuing visas and granting of residence permits, which is thereby expedited.
IAPMEI is responsible for the company certification process, which also involves consular services (who grant visas) and the Aliens and Borders Service (which grants residence permits).
It is planned to set up a Group to monitor the implementation of the Ordinance, with representatives of the Foreign Affairs, Internal Administration and Economics.
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