The Labour Law Department of Belzuz Abogados S.L.P. in Portugal explains the legal framework of the new “Tech-Visa” programme (the “Programme”), regulated by Portaria 328/2018 of December 19th, 2018.
The “Tech-Visa” programme and its goals/purposes
The “Tech-Visa” programme, in force since the beginning of the year consists in a certification programme for technology innovative companies located in Portugal for purposes of granting visas or residence permits to highly qualified nationals who intend to perform their professional activity in such companies.
Requirements to be met by the applicant companies’ requirements and duties to be performed by the companies certified by the Portuguese Agency for Small and Medium Companies (“IAPMEI, I.P.”):
Companies that intent do apply to the Programme must comply with the following requirements
(a) To be legally incorporated;
(b) Have no debts before Social Security and Tax Authorities;
(c) Are not in a restructuring process;
(d) Have all their salaries paid;
(e) Have identified preferred technical qualification areas in the scope of the Tech-Visa Programme in the application file in accordance with the Portuguese Catalogue of Qualifications;
(f) Have a positive net worth, evidenced in the last available Simplified Business Information; and
(g) Develop an activity that involves the production of goods and services liable to be internationalised.
These companies must also prove their technological and innovative grounds, by complying with, at least, two of the following requirements: a) are a “start-up” incorporated for less than two years, operating in high or medium-high technology or knowledge-intensive sectors; b) have an annual average increase in turnover above 20% in the last three years; c) have more than 15% of highly qualified employees; d) have raised venture capital investments by entering in «Venture Capital» or «Business Angel» funds over the last three years; e) have investment projects approved by Portugal 2020 or the programme to be created in the scope of the European Union financial framework up to 2027 in the areas of productive innovation, qualified entrepreneurship and creative companies, among others.
On the other side, companies certified by IAPMEI must comply the following;
(a) Authorise specific control inspections by IAPMEI, I.P. and by the Portuguese Border and Immigration Control (“Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” –“SEF”) in order to verify the compliance of the statements presented during the accreditation process;
(b) Promptly communicate to IAPMEI, I.P., SEF and the General Directorate for Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities (“Direção-Geral dos Assuntos Consulares e Comunidades Portuguesas”) any relevant fact or change that may compromise the acceptance criteria for the entrance of highly qualified foreign employees in Portugal, in the scope of the Programme.
Requirements to be complied by highly qualified employees’
All highly qualified employees that met the requirements below are eligible for the Programme:
(a) Are citizens from outside the European Union and are not living, on a permanent basis, within the European Union;
(b) Have paid contributions before tax authorities and social security (when applicable);
(c) Have no criminal record;
(d) Are older than 18 years;
(e) Execute an employment contract or a promissory employment contract with a minimum duration of 12 months;
(f) Have Portuguese or English language knowledge appropriate to the duties to be performed.
Moreover, all qualified employees hired in the scope of the Programme, must perform highly qualified activities according to certain requirements, namely to receive a minimum annual salary equivalent to €1.089,40).
Certification of the companies
IAPMEI, I.P is the responsible entity to certify companies and monitor the Programme´s execution.
Company certifications are valid for a two years period and can be renewed for the same period, after IAPMEI, I.P. verify that the certified companies comply with the above requirements and criteria.
The Labour Law Department of Belzuz Abogados, S.L.P in Portugal is highly experienced in labour legal advice (both Portuguese and foreign companies), hire of foreign employees and compliance with the necessary formalities.
Belzuz Abogados SLP
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