Portugal global market Tech Visa programme
The technological and innovative sector has been experiencing rapid growth in Portugal. In response to this growth, and in consideration of the need for hiring new and qualified workers, oftentimes nationals of third countries, the Portuguese Government has taken steps to allow greater agility in the granting of residency / authorised residence permit visas for these professionals. These measures have been put in place within the scope of the Tech Visa Programme.
Tech Visa has also been adopted in different countries such as France, Greece, Chile, and the United Kingdom.
The Tech visa programme, in place since January 1st, 2019, is aimed at companies present in the global market, which have their head office or permanent establishment in Portuguese territory, and who wish to attract professionals to Portugal, from non-EU countries, highly qualified to work in Portugal, through granting, in a more simplified way, visas and residence permits.
These professionals are recruited by companies that develop activity in the area of technology and innovation. An important requirement to access this incentive is that these companies are properly certified so that interested parties can obtain the Tech visa. The Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) has certified 332 1 companies since the beginning of Tech Visa, a programme integrated into the National Entrepreneurship Strategy — StartUP Portugal.
Among the more than 300 certified companies, a few names stand out, such as Bosch Car Multimedia Portugal SA; Huawei Tech. Portugal; Mercedes-Benz.IO Portugal; Nestlé Portugal and Siemens, S.A.
According to data released by IAPMEI in 2020, certified companies had already issued 1 265 terms of responsibility for highly skilled workers, of which 93% were trained in computer science.
These workers, with an average age of 31 years, come mainly from Brazil (1 027), India (86), and, to a lesser degree, from the United States (19).
As for geographical distribution, certified companies are concentrated with greater expression in the Lisbon region (158), followed by the North (71) and Centre (25) regions.
How to be a certified company
To obtain certification, the following requirements must be met:
• Be legally incorporated,
• Have a head office or permanent establishment in the Portuguese territory,
• Have no debts to the Tax Administration or the Social Security,
• Have no overdue wages,
• Not be a restructuring company,
• If the company is more than three years old, own a positive equity,
• Develop international tradeable goods or services activity,
• Have a positive assessment in respect of business potential,
• Be orientated towards foreign markets,
• Have identified the technical qualifications in need.
For which professionals is it intended?
Regarding the target audience of this measure, all professionals who meet the following mandatory requirements for inclusion in the programme are covered:
• Be a third-country national and not residing in the EU,
• Be fully up to date with fiscal and social obligations (if applicable),
• Have no criminal record,
• Be 18 years of age or older,
• Be proficient in Portuguese, English, French, or Spanish according to the job specifications,
• Engage in highly qualified activity demonstrated by meeting one of the following requirements:
• Have a minimum level 6 qualification (university degree) according to the ISCED2 — 2011, or
• Have the qualification level 5 (technical course) according to ISCED – 2011, plus five years of experience.
• Employment contract or promise with a minimum duration of 12 months,
• Have a minimum monthly wage equivalent to 2,5 times the social support index3.
The process is straightforward. Companies register on the Tech visa platform and submit their application.
A decision on the application is communicated within 20 working days. If favourable, they will be included in the list of certified companies available for consultation. This certification is valid for a period of two years and maybe renewed if the company so wishes.
Certified companies may then issue electronic terms of responsibility valid for six months. This whole process is done online at the www.iapmei.pt/techvisa.
Upon receiving the term of responsibility issued by the company, the workers present it to the consular services or the foreign and borders service to facilitate and speed up the process of obtaining the visa or residence permit.
1 Data released by IAPMEI on 04/12/2021
2 ISCED – International Standard Classification of Education
3 Social support index in 2021 = 438.81€
Minimum monthly salary in 2021 = 438.81 * 2.5 = 1,097€