The Digital Nomad phenomenon has become increasingly common worldwide, including in Portugal. Non-resident employees or service providers in Portugal can work remotely in Portuguese territory, as there are some differences in case they are EU or non-EU citizens or residents.
In the case of EU employees or service providers, they can easily move to Portugal without needing a Visa. Nonetheless, if they stay in Portugal for more than 183 days, they will become tax residents in Portugal.
Non-EU employees and service providers will, nonetheless, have to require a Visa. In this respect, the Portuguese government has recently changed the Law and created a Digital Nomad Visa, allowing citizens from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area to live and work from Portugal if specific requirements are met for a more extended stay.
Having received a Digital Nomad Visa, some practical questions might be raised. For example, which Law applies to digital nomads? Do Digital Nomads have a specific labour or provision of services regime for their “category”? Could service providers qualify as employees under Portuguese Law? Are they obliged to pay contributions to Social Security in Portugal? What are the obligations of their employer or contractor?
As usual, the answers to those questions will depend on the specific situation. However, even in the cases where it could argue that employees and service providers would be subject to a different law than the Portuguese one, certain aspects of Portuguese Law shall apply, namely when they’re related to matters that may be – to some extent – considered as fundamental rights of employees.
In those cases, the Portuguese Law shall apply if it is more favourable than the applicable Law of the country of the employee. This relates, in particular, to matters such as:
- Job security.
- Maximum working time.
- Minimum rest periods.
- Minimum pay and payment for overtime.
- Assignment of workers by a temporary employment agency.
- Occasional selection of workers.
- Health and safety at work.
- Parental protection.
- Protection of minors at work.
- Equal treatment and non-discrimination.
Furthermore, there is a possibility that an employee or service provider should be subject to Portuguese Social Security. Social Security is applied based on a territorial principle regarding the place where the work is performed. There are EU regulations that will foresee exceptions, as well as international agreements to which Portugal is a party. However, the applicability of the general rule or the exceptions to the same is something that employees and service providers, as well as employers and contractors, should bear in mind, as certain obligations may also apply to them, even if they would not expect it.
Portugal is successfully creating more possibilities for Digital Nomads to feel welcome working remotely and facilitating the entry and stay requirements.
However, confirming which obligations may apply to them is always necessary.
The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.