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Portugal Immigration Information Work Permit


In general, a foreign applicant (the "employee") assigned to work in another country must evidence a degree of proprietary knowledge, specialised skills, or managerial/executive-level skills that are not readily available in the destination country's domestic labour market.

A foreign national employee cannot convert his/her immigration status from a Visitor status to Work status while remaining in Portugal. According to Portuguese immigration law, an employee can be physically present in Portugal once the employee's (and family member's) work/residence visa applications are filed with a Portuguese consular post; however, the employee is not allowed to perform any employment-related duties until the employee receives his or her Work & Residence Visa.

Types of Work Permits/Visas

The main types of Portuguese employment visa categories are:

Independent Visa: The employee is generally paid his or her entire salary outside of Portugal and is considered as a seconded employee to the Portuguese company. This is the preferable and the usual visa category for most intra-company transfers, as there is not a pre-requisite to recruit for the employee's proposed position in the Portuguese labor market nor receive prior approval of a work permit from the Portuguese Labour Office. Given this, the employee can apply for his/her Work & Residence visa directly at a Portuguese consular post;

Dependent Visa: Should an employee be paid from the Portuguese company's payroll, the employee is considered as a "local" hire. This will require that the employee is subject to a Labour Contract. Prior to filing the application for the visa at the Portuguese Consulate, a formal work permit application must be approved by the Labour Office (the "IDICT"). The process to obtain IDICT approval may take at least two to three months, in addition to additional time to file and receive approval of the work and residence.

Basic Requirements

To qualify as a sponsor of a Work & Residence Visa, the basic requirements for the Portuguese company and the assignee are as follows:

• The Portuguese employer must prove that there does not exist a readily available Portuguese or alien workforce resident in Portugal qualified to perform the employee's proposed position;

• The Portuguese employer must prove that the proposed position is of such special character that a Work & Residence visa can be recommended;

• The Portuguese employer must prove that all salary and employment conditions corresponds to Portuguese labour standards, and, in the case of a Dependent Visa, that a promissory employment agreement has been drafted between the employee and the Portuguese company;

• In certain cases, the Labour Office may require prior approval from a relevant branch organisation or a labour union certifying that there are no qualified Portuguese workers to perform the proposed position.

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