Joana de Sá

Partner | National Head of Labour

Luís Gonçalves Lira

Managing Associate | Labour PRA Ponta Delgada

August 29, 2022

Changes to the legal regime for the entry, stay, departure and removal of foreigners from national territory

Law no. 18/2022, of August 25th, amended the legal regime for the entry, stay, departure and removal of foreigners in the national territory. We will highlight below some of the changes we consider most relevant, given their practical interest. It is worth remembering that this regime is highly complex and important, as it deals with the possibility for foreign citizens to enter and remain in national territory – legally – having fulfilled the necessary requirements.

Residence visa for work and “work search” visa:

Regarding the residence visas for the exercise of a subordinate professional activity, the new law revokes some of the provisions in force until now, allowing that, as long as a citizen meets the general requirements necessary to obtain any visa, and has a promise or employment contract, or individualized expression of interest from an employer, will be entitled to obtain this visa.

It’s worth mentioning that applicants are no longer required to sign a work contract or promise of a work contract before entering national territory, and it also relieves employers from having to make a job offer available at the IEFP for a period of 30 days when they intend to hire a specific foreign citizen.

As for visas for the exercise of an independent professional activity, the requirement that prevented the applicant citizen from having previously concluded a service provision contract or being the recipient of a contractual proposal, disappears in the same way.

It should be noted that the provisions regarding the possibility for the applicant to apply for a residence permit with exemption from the visa requirement, after entering national territory, upon demonstration of interest, remain in effect. This possibility continues to depend on the requirements already foreseen.

Another novelty is the “work search” visa, which, being valid for 120 days, enables its holder to enter and remain in the national territory to look for work, as well as to exercise a dependent work activity, as long as he/she complies with the general requirements for obtaining a visa.

Note that this visa can be extended for a further 60 days, and that a transport document is required to ensure the applicant’s return. It should also be noted that this visa is only valid for Portuguese territory and, once its validity expires without the applicant having established an employment relationship and started the subsequent document regularization process, he/she must leave the country and can only apply for a new visa for this purpose after one year.

New Visa for “Digital Nomads”:

The amendment to the law brings “some” more regulation to a reality that in recent years has proliferated: the “digital nomadism”. This visa will be granted to employees and self-employed professionals for the exercise of professional activity remotely provided to individuals or legal entities domiciled or headquartered outside national territory (residence visa for the exercise of professional activity remotely provided outside national territory).

Until now only the D7 visa, in our opinion, could really accommodate some regulation for this type of worker, but it was clearly designed for foreign citizens who are retired or who demonstrate that they live off their own income, such as rent or financial investments.

Therefore, we believe that these changes are of undeniable relevance and usefulness, namely by contributing to the transparency of the regime for hiring foreign citizens, accommodating the norms of equality and non-discrimination.

Any of the mentioned procedures above is, however, highly complex, so any foreign citizen who wishes to benefit from it should, in our opinion, inform himself/herself beforehand in order to understand if he/she fits in and what steps must be observed in order to be successful.