The vision of Portugal as a country of emigration, where its nationals leave in search of better opportunities, has been slowly crumbling, giving way to the idea of Portugal as a country of immigration. This reality found complete fulfilment in the last decade, during which Portugal served as “home” to thousands of immigrants.
To keep up with the significant receptiveness to immigration, Law no. 18/2022 came into force on 26 August 2022, responsible for changing the Legal Regime of Entry, Stay, Exit and Expulsion of Foreigners from the National Territory.
Based on the desideratum of regulated and integrated immigration that works in favour of the development of the Portuguese State, the amendments introduced in the Law establish the conditions for implementing the Mobility Agreement between the Member States of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.
They also alter the Legal Regime for Granting Asylum or Subsidiary Protection and Respective Statutes and implement, in the national legal order, the European Union Regulations regarding the operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS).
Most significant changes introduced in Law 18/2022
As mobility is a condition without which the Portuguese State’s desideratum cannot be achieved, it is essential to consider the most significant changes introduced in Law 18/2022 that work in this direction.
Aimed at implementing the Agreement on Mobility between the Member States of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, Article 52-A abolishes the necessary formalities for granting visas to nationals of Member States of the CPLP, speeding up the visa issue procedure. In turn, Article 87-A establishes the residence permit for citizens of the CPLP.
To combat the labour shortage in Portugal, the new Article 57-A establishes a visa for seeking work, granting the holder the right to enter and remain in the national territory for a period of 120 days, extendable for 60 days, to seek work. After establishing and formalising the employment relationship, the citizen may, within 180 days, apply for a residence permit at SEF.
Similarly, foreign citizens who carry out subordinate or independent professional activities remotely will see the scope of their rights reinforced. In this regard, Articles 54(1)(i) and 61-B confer upon these citizens the right to apply for a visa for temporary stay or residence in Portugal.
Finally, and paying particular attention to the situation of refugee citizens, Article 19, no. 2 establishes a 5-year validity for refugee travel permits, allowing for their renewal for equal periods.
In summary, the motivation for the amendments mentioned above focuses on the growth and development of the areas of tourism and immigration, which are of high importance in various Portuguese society sectors, reinforcing the need to recover these areas in a post-restriction period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These changes foster free movement and strengthen Portugal’s position as one of the most attractive countries for investors, digital nomads and professionals of excellence, as well as reinforcing a place of constant cooperation with humanitarian entities and compliance with the agreements signed with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.