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Highly Qualified Foreigners Attracted to Portugal more than Doubles from 2007 to 2008

 - 23/04/2009

In 2008 Portugal attracted 533 highly qualified foreigners from outside the European space, more than double that in 2007, according to data from the Contact Group set up in 2006 to promote and simplify the process of hiring teaching members of staff, researchers and other highly qualified foreigners, under the scope of the Simplex Programme.

The highly qualified foreigners who came to Portugal in 2008 originate from more than 40 countries, and in particular Brazil (223 visas granted), China (39 visas granted), India (34 visas granted) and the United States of America (24 visas granted).

Amongst the residence and temporary stay visas granted in 2008, there were 88 researchers, 132 teachers in higher education and 313 company employees, including doctors and paramedics, IT engineers, electrical engineers, chemists, individuals from the legal professions, liberal professionals and other highly qualified technicians.

What is more, according to the Contact Group, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Administration and the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education, the average time to obtain visas has continued to fall, having reached a minimum of 11 days in the second half of 2008, as opposed to 12 days in the first half of 2008, and an average of around 20 days in 2007.

It has been possible to achieve this thanks to the mechanisms envisaged in the current law for foreigners, rules regarding the Schengen space which facilitate the circulation of qualified technical staff, and the special measures meant to strengthen the interworking of the Ministries and Services involved.

This has involved the practical realisation of one more measure within the framework of the Commitment to Science for Portugal’s Future which has included the adaptation of legislation concerning immigration and the mechanisms for receiving immigrants who have a high technical and scientific level, thus ensuring competitive conditions of entry, and establishing residence and family reunion. In this context, foreign citizens with the profile described above can enter and remain in national territory, as long as they have an entity promising them employment or a work contract, a proposal or a services rendered contract, or a scientific research scholarship at an R&D institution.

Along with this is the necessary request for a visa which the applicant should submit to a competent consulate, to the receiving bodies (research centres, higher educational institutions, or other public or private bodies, namely companies carrying out highly qualified activities) who now benefit from a supplementary procedure to enable the granting of visas to be speeded up. As such, these bodies can send an advance copy of the documents referring to the contracting process to the General Secretariat (Secretaria-Geral) of the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education, which will send them to the Directorates-General for Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and to the Service for Border Control and Aliens (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras - SEF), of the Ministry of Internal Administration.

Once in national territory, the hold of the Temporary Stay Visa may request an extension of stay from SEF for up to 1 year, extendable for an equal period, while the holder of a Residence Visa should, within a period of 4 months, in national territory, carry out a request for a temporary residence visa from SEF. They can, if necessary, subsequently request a renewal of the residence visa.

Last updated ( 25/08/2011 )