Under the scope of the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship StartUP Portugal, the TECH VISA program was created and announced on Websummit’s last edition in Lisbon. The program allows technological and innovative companies, inserted in the global market, to hire qualified and specialized employees from third countries of European Union, more quickly and without the traditional bureaucracy associated to the common residence visa.
Companies intending to obtain a certification which allows them to access this special route of hiring foreign citizens, must apply with IAPMEI which is the entity responsible for certification, demonstrating, in Portuguese language, through electronic form, the fulfillment of the following criteria of selection:
a) Being legally incorporated;
b) Do not having debts to social security and the tax administration;
c) Do not have salaries in arrears;
d) Do not being in an insolvency process;
e) Identify in the application the technical areas of qualification that are most preferred under the “Tech Visa” program, according to the National Qualifications Catalog;
f) Having a positive net situation, evidenced by the latest available Simplified Business Information (IES);
g) Developing an activity of production of internationalizable goods and services;
h) Demonstrate the technological and innovative basis by meeting at least two of the following requirements:
- Being a «startup» created at least for two years that develops its activity in sectors of high or medium-high technology;
- Have more than 15% highly skilled employees;
- Have an average annual growth in turnover of more than 20% in the last 3 years;
- Have raised venture capital investment in the last 3 years;
- Have investment projects approved in the last 3 years in the areas of Productive Innovation, Qualified and Creative Entrepreneurship or R&D Companies;
- Have an application approved by the Corporate R&D Tax Incentive System, in one of the last 3;
- Have a project approved in the last 3 years under the European Union’s Framework Programs for Innovation;
i) Have a positive evaluation of the application in the following evaluation criteria:
- Market potential;
- Degree of technological innovation;
- Orientation to external markets.
The IAPMEI decision is issued within 20 days and company certification is valid for two years, renewable for equal periods. The current application period ends on December 31, 2019, when companies seeking this certification will have to wait for the opening of a new application period.