Tech Visa: programme aiming to attract companies and third-national highly qualified workers, comes into force in January

  • ECO News
  • 19 December 2018

Tech Visa is a programme which aims at providing certification to innovative tech companies coming to Portugal. It also grants visas to third-country nationals.

Tech companies planning to apply for the Tech Visa programme will be able to present their applications starting on the 1st of January. Such companies must have a positive liquidity status, according to the dispatch published this Wednesday on Diário da República (official gazette of the Portuguese Republic).

The Tech Visa initiative was taken after the Start Up Visa proved to be very successful, and it aims at attracting highly qualified professionals in tech, from outside the EU. With the programme, these tech professionals will have an easier way to access national-based companies and their vacancies.

IAPMEI (public entity body responsible for giving support to Small and Medium Enterprises) will be analyzing the eligibility of those which apply for the Tech Visa programme, and the process will involve the Foreigners and Borders Agency and the Consular Affairs DG of the government.

The evaluation will be based, according to IAPMEI’s official statement, on the potential, the degree of tech innovation and the internationalization goals of each company, and each of those can’t have more than 50% of its workers simultaneously employed through the Tech Visa. That threshold jumps to 80% for companies located in the outermost regions of the country, according to the same official statement.

Besides, these companies must “prove that their business is related to tech, and their innovative compound, by meeting two of these requirements: startup, founded at least two years ago, involved with the medium/high technology industry, or knowledge-intensive sectors; over 15% of the company’s workers are highly qualified; investment from venture capital/business angels entered in the last three years; projects approved under Portugal2020 or in the context of the financial strategies of the EU until 2027 in the areas of qualified and creative entrepreneurship, productivity-oriented innovation and companies’ R&D”.

These candidates will also need the approval of the Fiscal Incentive System, or the approval of their project within the Innovation EU framework (namely Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe). They will also need to get a positive evaluation of their company’s/project’s market potential criteria, of their innovation level and a positive evaluation of their internationalization strategy.

After all that process, the certified companies must ensure that all their highly qualified workers meet a set of requirements such as: being a third-country national and not having permanent residency in a EU country; having a good fiscal standing, making sure all taxes and contributions were paid; having no criminal background and must be over 18 years old.

Each company’s certification will be valid for two years, and it will be renewable for equal timeframes.

The workers under the Tech Visa programme should hold highly qualified positions, and in accordance with the dispatch from Diário da República, they must have “an average annual salary 2.5 times higher than the social support index” and they should also “have Portuguese and English language skills which are appropriate to the tasks they are assigned with”.