The changes to the Lei 23/2007 law, which is also called the “The Foreigners Law” in Portugal, came into force on October 30, 2022. The new amendments to this law are fascinating and will be especially useful for those who are just planning their immigration to Portugal. In this article, we will take a closer look at the new resident visa for seeking employment in Portugal, which appeared precisely as a result of a change in the law on foreigners.
Who is eligible for seeking employment visa?
Visa for seeking employment in Portugal (port. "Visto "para procura de trabalho") was created for foreigners who want to find work in the country as an employee. This is a significant amendment because this type of visa will not work neither for freelancers nor for Digital Nomads. As a separate visa was created as a result of amendments to the same law for this category of people, but we will talk about this visa in our next article.
Earlier, many foreigners came to the country on a tourist visa, visa-free program or simply illegally and tried to find employment in Portugal in this way. Now, this is not necessary, and you can get this type of resident visa at the Portuguese consulate in your country of residence. Thereafter, you will have the opportunity to stay in the country while seeking employment absolutely legally.
How long is a seeking employment visa valid in Portugal?
An amendment to the law on foreigners, approved by the Council of Ministers, provides the issuance of a visa to seek employment in Portugal for up to 120 days, with the possibility of extending for 60 days more.
Thus, a foreign citizen can legally stay in Portugal for up to 180 days (6 months) to seek employment in the country.
Six months is a fairly optimal period, and it is quite possible to find a job in the country during this time, which we wrote about in detail in the article on how to find a job in Portugal.
If during this period you fail to find a job with a formal employment agreement, you will have to leave the territory of Portugal. A new application for this visa can be submitted only one year after the expiration of the previous one.
Conditions for obtaining a seek employment visa in Portugal
Any foreigner who is going to seek employment in the country as an employee in an organization can apply for a seek employment visa in Portugal.
In this circumstance, it is essential:
- Possession of a valid passport;
- Availability of travel medical insurance;
- You must have livelihood for the duration of your stay in the amount of at least 2,115 euros (this amount is equal to three minimum salaries in the country for 2022);
- You must have a return air ticket to your country with a date before the expiration date of the visa;
- You must have a certificate of non-conviction and give permission to the Portuguese authorities to check your criminal status;
- It is necessary to register with the Portuguese Institute of Employment (IEFP), indicating your education and professional experience (you can do it online here);
- It is necessary not to have any prohibition to enter the country or the Schengen area.
You can read more about these conditions in the text of The Foreigners Law.
The cost of obtaining this visa will depend on the consulate where you receive it. There is no exact information on the terms, but most likely such visas will be issued within 60 days from the date of application, as is the case with other types of Portuguese visas, such as D.
Moreover, if you have a relative or acquaintance who legally resides in Portugal, then he/she can become your guarantor. In that case you won't need to prove that you have the amount of 2,115 euros. At the same time, this amount must be in the bank account of your guarantor, who will have full financial responsibility for you to pay for housing, meals and any of your fines during the validity of the visa.
What about family and the closest relatives?
If you are going to get a seek employment visa in Portugal, you may not be satisfied with the option of living alone for six months in the country, away from your family.
The good news is that you can seek employment in Portugal by being close to your family, who can get a reunification visa, as is the case with any other types of D-type resident visas.
It is worth recalling that currently, after recent changes in legislation, requests for a primary visa (in this case, a seek employment visa) and for family reunification can be submitted at the same time. But these nuances are best clarified at the Portuguese consulate in your country of your residence.
What was the purpose of creating a seek employment visa?
Based on the version of official sources and according to the Minister Anna Katarina Mendes, the purpose of the changes to the "Foreigner Law" is to remove some of the bureaucratic obstacles that previously prevented fast obtaining of visas. In addition, the government wants the migration processes in Portugal to be more transparent, lawful and safe.
The position of the government is understandable because the SEF migration service (which will cease to exist and will be reorganized in 2023) already had some big problems with processing of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are already working and are in the country without any documents filing statements «manifestação de interesse», which we wrote about in detail in this article about working in Portugal.
The launching of a seek employment visa will greatly simplify and legalize this process, which until now has been very disorganized and not entirely legal (it is about seeking employment on a tourist visa or a visa-free regime).
Thus, the launching of this type of visa is primarily aimed at unloading and contouring the work of the Portuguese migration service.
What about the work itself? Can a person who gets this visa quite simply expect coming to Portugal and finding a decent job in 6 months without the Portuguese language?
The answer to this question will finally depend on your specific situation. For example, if you are a highly qualified specialist in the IT field, fluent in English, have extensive work experience, and you come to Portugal on a seek employment visa, you will most likely be able to get a job in a company. Although the salary will be lower than in many other countries of the world.
But if you are a worker of any other profession, it will be quite difficult for you to find a decent job. This has always been the problem of Portugal, and, in 2022, it became even more difficult to find job due to the large influx of Ukrainian refugees and foreign immigrants from all over the world.
Very soon, we will publish an article on the WithPortugal website, where we will talk about whether Portugal needs foreign immigrants at all in 2022. But now we can reveal the secret and say that there are 2 spheres in the country where there is an intense shortage of personnel: this is the construction industry and the restaurant and hotel industry.
You are not an IT-specialist, but you want to avoid working at a construction site or washing dishes in a restaurant? Then probably you should seriously think about what prospects await you in the Portuguese labor market. Wait for our new article about working in Portugal in 2022, and maybe it will help you make the right decision.
A seek employment visa in Portugal in 2022 — it is already available for obtaining
If you are reading this article, it means that right now you can apply to the Portuguese Consulate to obtain this type of visa. Amendments to the “Foreigner Law” have already entered into force, and many people from all over the world can try their fortune by coming to Portugal for six months to seek employment.
Sure, this is a very useful tool that will reduce the number of illegal immigrants and enable highly qualified specialists to compete with residents on equal conditions. The main thing to remember is that this type of visa doesn't arrive with a job, and whether you can find it without knowing the language will depend solely on you.
We wish you good luck in your search of employment, regardless of where you are in the world!