The Portuguese authorities have published a new law (29/2012) on 9 August, due to come into force on 9 September, which amends Act 23/2007 of 4 July.
The new law implements several EU directives and makes significant changes to immigration processes in Portugal.
Among other things, the new law introduces the EU Blue Card, increases validity of the temporary stay visa, changes the scope of the residence visa for local hires and investors, and increases sanctions for employers found to be out of compliance with immigration legislation.
Residence permits for investors:
A new category has been created to specifically encourage investment. Investors who meet one of the following criteria may qualify for a simplified route into Portugal, which allows for a residence permit to be obtained post arrival without the need to first apply for a residence visa at a Portuguese consulate or Embassy in the country of residence.
The criteria are as follows:
- -Either transfer at least €1 million of capital, or
- -Purchase property worth at least €500,000, or
- -Create at least 30 jobs
The client applies for a tourist visa and travels to Portugal. They set up a property investment company, open the relevant bank accounts, apply for their fiscal number and complete several other administrative responsibilities. The client may choose to undertake a property inspection in order to make a decision on the property(ies) they want to purchase. A transfer of capital is made into their company bank account in advance of the property investment.
The client applies for a Residency Visa in their home country, allowing for a multi-entry 4 month visa into Portugal. This visa takes 30 days to process from the date of application.
The client returns to Portugal on their Residency Visa, and attends an interview with the Portuguese authorities to discuss their investment proposals. An application is made for a 1 year Residency Permit, based on their wealth status and property investment plans. The Portuguese Consulate requires 30 days to process this visa.
The client selects and purchases the investment property through their company. A mortgage, if required, is secured on the basis of the creditworthiness of the client. The client continues to maintain their existing business enterprises and demonstrates a meaningful contribution to Portuguese life.
The Residency Permit is renewed, this time for a further two years. At the end of the two years, a final renewal (for another two years) is lodged.
After five years, an application is made for Portuguese Nationality. This includes a written Portuguese language test. The married partner, and any children under the age of 18, are included in the application.