For startups, SMEs, and tech companies, the ease of hiring qualified talent from outside of the country where they operate has gained more and more importance. Hence, this has become a crucial factor for entrepreneurs and business owners in deciding what location is best to establish their companies.
In Portugal, hiring qualified foreign employees has become more accessible since the beginning of 2019 thanks to the inception of the Portugal Tech Visa Program that eases the hiring of Non-EU Nationals with simplified processes and faster processing times.
This article will help you understand the most important things to know about the Tech Visa in Portugal. Whether you are interested in applying for the Tech Visa and get a job in Portugal or if you are an entrepreneur in the process of establishing your company in Portugal and looking for ways to hire from outside the EU, this article will help you do that.
What is the Tech Visa Program For Companies?
The Tech Visa enables Portuguese companies, meeting certain eligibility criteria, to benefit from a fast-track process for the recruitment of highly-qualified professionals from outside the European Union.
What is the Tech Visa Program For Professionals?
The Tech Visa enables highly-qualified professionals to access job opportunities in Portugal and benefit from short Visa processing times when they apply for a position with a Tech Visa certified company in Portugal.
When and Why did the Tech Visa Program Start?
Born out of the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship, i.e., StartUp Portugal, the Tech Visa program started in early 2019. With the Portuguese Innovation and Tech Ecosystem booming and growing, the need for highly qualified talent has recorded unprecedented highs. As the traditional hiring processes are pretty complex and paperwork intensive, the Tech Visa came into place to ease hiring foreign talent for companies working in technology and innovation. Hence, under the Tech Visa program, hiring is done in a much simpler way with shorter processing times for the issuance of work Visas.
How does Portugal Benefit from the Tech Visa Program?
The Tech Visa Program aims to strengthen and internationalize the Portuguese Startup Ecosystem, contributing to its growth and visibility in the foreign markets, to achieve a prominent worldwide positioning. By attracting skilled talent from outside the EU, Portugal benefits from knowledge and know-how transfer, contributing to the strengthening of local capabilities and human resources. By availing of the Tech Visa Program, among other frameworks, Portugal becomes more and more attractive for startups that are looking for the best country to incorporate their companies in Europe, hence offering them a smooth way to relocate their teams and resources to Portugal.
What are the Steps to Follow for a Company to be Part of the Tech Visa Program?
For a Portuguese Company to be part of the Tech Visa Program, it has to follow the below steps:
- Create your IAPMEI Account
If you haven’t done so already, you may want to create an account for your Portuguese Company at the IAPMEI’s Portal accessible here.
- Submit your Application for Tech Visa Certification
First of all, you will have to fill out the required information within the IAPMEI’s Portal, where you will be able to fill a couple of forms and upload necessary documents from your Portuguese Company. Before doing so, make sure that your Company is legally incorporated in Portugal and has no debts to Social Security or the Tax Authorities. Afterward, you can review and submit your Tech Visa application.
- Obtain your Tech Visa Certification
In an average of 20 working days, you will receive a notification regarding the IAPMEI’s decision on your Company’s application for the Tech Visa Certification. After a favorable decision, the Certified Company will have access to the issuance of Terms of Responsibility for foreigners hired or intend to recruit through a form available electronically by IAPMEI. The Company can start hiring. This certification is valid for two years, and in case the Company wants to maintain it, it should submit the renewal application before the end of the initial certification period.
What are the Steps to Follow for a Candidate to Obtain the Tech Visa in Portugal?
If you would like to benefit from the Tech Visa and come to Portugal to live and work, the first step is to search for a job opportunity with one of the Tech Visa Certified Companies in Portugal. You can download the up-to-date list of Portuguese companies that can hire under the Tech Visa Program here.
We highly recommend keeping an eye on these companies and the job openings they have. You may also want to reach out to them directly if you believe your skills will add value to their business activities.
Once you obtain a job offer from one of the Tech Visa Program companies in Portugal, they will provide you with the required documents and guide you through the process of applying for and obtaining your Tech Visa to relocate to Portugal.
Who are the Responsible Entities for the Tech Visa Program?
The Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI) is the responsible entity for the certification of candidate companies for the Tech Visa Program. The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), the General-Directorate of Consular Affairs, are responsible for granting foreign talents the Tech Visa and Residence Permit in Portugal.
What are the Salary Requirements for an Employment Contract under the Tech Visa?
Under the Tech Visa Program, the employment contracts must have a minimum duration of twelve months and a minimum salary of two and a half times the social support index (IAS).
What is the Percentage of the Total Employees that can be Hired under the Tech Visa?
It is essential to know that organizations are not allowed to have over half of their workforce under the Tech Visa Program, except if they operate within the interior of Portugal, such as in Faro. (in this case, that cutoff is 80%).
What are the Eligibility Criteria for Candidates to Obtain a Tech Visa?
The requirements for the foreign talent to apply for the Tech Visa in Portugal are as follows:
- Being a Non-EU National;
- Not holding a Permanent Residency in the EU;
- Having tax obligations fulfilled at the country of residence;
- Holding a Bachelor Degree or a High-School Degree with a five-year experience;
- Being at least 18 years old;
- Possessing no criminal record.
With the birth of the Portugal Tech Visa regulated by IAPMEI, hiring qualified foreign talent has become more accessible, simpler, and faster than before. It is essential to notice that the program is only valid for certified companies focused on technology and innovation.
Hence, if you are a Portuguese company and would like to obtain the Tech Visa Certification, you may want to follow the steps explained earlier. Alternatively, you can engage with one of our experts who will help you with that. If you don’t have a company yet and would like to know more about Company Formation in Portugal, you may want to check how we could help you Remotely Form a Company in Portugal.
Last but not least, and if you are a highly qualified professional who wants to move to Portugal as part of the Tech Visa Program, browse through and apply for a job in one of the certified companies, whose complete list is available here. In case you have any doubts, or you would like to know more about other programs such as the StartUP Visa, the Golden Visa, or the Entrepreneurs Visa (D-2), you may want to book a session and talk to a seasoned Immigration Lawyer who will help you understand what option suits your case best.