What the Tech Visa program for Portugal is and its changes in 2022
A successful program with high demand since its launch in 2018, Tech Visa seeks to attract highly qualified professionals from outside the EU for specific positions within companies in Portugal.
The program underwent major changes in 2022 and increased its scope, no longer restricting visa issuance to technology and innovation companies. Here, we’ll explain what the program is, what its main changes are and how to apply for the Tech Visa to work in Portugal.
What is Tech Visa and what will change in 2022?
The Tech Visa program is one of the visa programs created by the Portuguese government, which aims to attract highly qualified professionals from the global market to Portugal to work in specialized positions in national companies that are established in Portuguese territory.
Originally aimed exclusively at professionals in the areas of technology and innovation, as the program’s name implies, Tech Visa’s major change in 2022 was the exclusion of this restriction on areas, now covering any entity – whatever its legal form – that offers goods or services in the market and economic activities.
Criteria and changes for company certification
For the program to be applicable, the contracting company must be certified and be part of Tech Visa – and the changes also concern the criteria for this certification.
Previously, it was a mandatory requirement for the company to produce goods and/or services that could be internationalized, i.e. exported. Now, however, it is only necessary for the company to have a permanent establishment in the national territory, carrying out activities whose exercise requires specialized technical skills, which guarantees the exceptional nature of the program, which aims to seek qualified labor for the assignment of the visa.
Still based on the changes in criteria, another relevant point for the certification of companies is that, while it is no longer necessary for the product/service itself to be internationalizable, it must be capable of being exposed to international competition and be the object of international exchange, or, in the case of technology interface centers or collaborative laboratories, have an economic activity of providing services to companies with an activity of producing internationalizable goods and services.
Companies’ duties and obligations
Among the various contractual obligations that certified companies must guarantee in order to apply for the Tech Visa program, one of the obligations is to formalize an employment or service contract of at least 12 months’ duration, with a minimum annual salary equivalent to 2.5 times the IAS (social support index), and in the event of changes in the worker’s position within the company, to issue contractual addendums updating their position within the company in Portugal.
Another obligation is the need to constantly update the terms of responsibility tracking area on the Tech Visa program platform, in order to indicate and identify the use of the visa, the residential permit application and the contractual situation.
How to participate in Tech Visa Portugal?
Like most work visa programs around the world, Portugal’s Tech Visa has a number of requirements and restrictions designed to filter and select more precisely those who are granted work and residence permits in the country.
The program starts with the companies, as they need to be accredited by the government in order to apply for this visa category. In other words, it’s not enough to get a job in Portugal, the company must be part of Tech Visa.
Pay attention to salaries
As the program aims to attract highly qualified professionals for specific positions, it is natural – and necessary – that the remuneration meets the criteria and the average salary in the country. In technology companies, for example, the floor is €1,097.
Portugal isn’t known for offering the best salaries in Europe, which is why the program’s function is reinforced: to look for qualified professionals in global markets beyond the EU, offering salaries that are, for example, higher than those in Brazil.
The first step to applying for Visa Tech, therefore, would be to search for certified companies on Portuguese job search sites. On Indeed, for example, you can apply a filter that only displays vacancies that match the Visa Tech category.
After the selection process, you also need to sort out the documentation required to apply for a visa. During the visa process, a Term of Responsibility is generated with a validation code. This term is registered on the IAPMEI website and consulted by SEF in the process. The application must be made by VFS Global, the company responsible for processing the documentation and sending it to SEF.
As this is a priority visa, usually applied for together with certified companies, the process is usually quicker than the traditional one. Once your Tech Visa has been issued, you can board your flight to Portugal and start working for the company you are working for.
To find out more details and discover other categories of work visa offered by the Portuguese government, visit the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the sector responsible for analyzing, approving and issuing documents to residents from outside the European Union.
Finally, it is important to have a team of specialized advisors and lawyers to guide you throughout the process, to clear up any doubts regarding bureaucracy and to carry everything out more safely. Good luck!