Hiring foreign workers in Portugal has become a popular trend for businesses looking to solve their staff shortages.
However, you need to be aware of the important legal obligations you must fulfill to comply with labor laws and regulations.
You’ll not only need to navigate international recruitment but also ensure your non-EU employees obtain the necessary work permits and visas.
Whether you are a small or a large company, this guide will help you through the international hiring process.
The Process of Hiring Foreign Workers in Portugal Explained in 4 Steps
Hiring foreign workers in Portugal doesn’t need to be difficult – as long as you know the exact steps to take.
To work legally, your prospective employees need a residence permit you must apply for on their behalf. As part of the application process, you must show evidence of the worker’s qualifications and experience.
Additionally, foreigners must obtain a work visa for Portugal, which allows them to enter the country.
Let’s break down each of the steps involved in the hiring process.
Step 1: Understand the Different Visa Options
Before proceeding with international hiring, it’s important to understand the different types of visas available for Portugal.
Depending on the work conditions, your prospective employees will need to apply for a specific visa.
Long-stay work visas for Portugal, in compliance with existing laws and regulations, can be either temporary or for residency authorization. This depends on the duration of the work contract.
Additionally, a short-stay visa is available for seasonal workers. These individuals are usually migrant seasonal farm workers who come to the country for a temporary duration to work.
Here’s what you need to know about each type of work visa for Portugal.
Temporary Stay Visa
A temporary stay visa allows its holder to work in Portugal for less than one year. This type of visa remains valid throughout the entire stay and enables multiple entries into the country.
The temporary work visa allows entry into Portugal for a variety of work-related purposes. These purposes may include subordinate work, remote work, independent work, and highly qualified activities (such as professorships).
A residence visa enables its holder to enter Portugal for long-term employment.
Your prospective employees can obtain this visa for reasons such as subordinate employment, remote work, independent work, and highly skilled activities.
This type of visa is valid for 4 months and allows two entries. During this period, your workers must apply for a residence card at SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Border Service).
Seasonal Work Visa
A seasonal work visa enables its holder to carry out seasonal work in Portugal for up to 90 days.
For this visa type, the work must be in a sector on the list where the Portuguese government allows seasonal employment.
Order n.º 745/2018 of 17 January outlines the following sectors eligible for seasonal work:
- Agriculture, livestock farming, hunting, forestry, and fishery
- Accommodation, restaurants, and similar industries
- Gross and retail commerce
- Food, beverage, and tobacco industries
- Land transport
Step 2: Conduct a Labor Market Test
Before hiring non-EU nationals in Portugal, you must show evidence that no local workers are available to fill the position.
This is because you must prioritize candidates from Portugal, other EU states, or countries with which Portugal has signed free movement agreements
To do so, you must advertise the job offer on the Internet for a minimum of 30 days. If the position remains open, the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP) will issue an official declaration.
This declaration will state that you are allowed to fill the position with a non-EU worker.
After getting approval from the IEFP, you can send an employment contract or a promise of a contract to your prospective employee.
Step 3: Your Future Employee Applies for a Portugal Work Visa
After getting approval from the IEFP, your prospective employee needs to apply for a work visa. To do so, they should submit an application to the competent Portuguese diplomatic mission in their home country.
To assist workers in navigating the application process for a work visa for Portugal, we have compiled a helpful handbook.
Our guide includes a checklist of supporting documents and provides an overview of the legal prerequisites.
Additionally, it explains the process for applying for a residence card. This is a mandatory requirement for workers who are to stay in Portugal for more than 6 months.
To access the complete guide, please click on the following link: Work Visa For Portugal: Requirements & How To Apply.
Step 4: Apply for a Residence Permit (Autorização de Residência)
After applying for a work visa, there’s a separate process for obtaining a residence permit. A residence permit for Portugal is known as Autorização de Residência.
You can apply for a residence permit on behalf of your employee at SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Border Service).
You will need to submit the following documents with your application:
- Copy of passport and Portuguese work visa
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Two passport-size photos
- Relevant tax documents
- Proof of Portuguese proficiency (if applicable)
- Criminal record background checks
- Work contract
The work permit processing time can take up to 60 days.
The processing fee for a residence permit is €83.
The permit is usually valid for one year and can be renewed for two more years.
You must remember that your employee also needs to obtain a residence card from SEF after entering Portugal.
Important update: On October 29, 2023, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) was replaced by the Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA). For more details, please refer to this article.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Portugal: Final Considerations
Hiring foreign workers in Portugal offers an excellent chance for companies to fill their staffing gaps and gain a competitive edge.
Portugal, with its strong labor market and high living standards, proves to be an optimal destination for foreigners seeking career opportunities.
Plus, the straightforward visa requirements make it convenient for businesses to acquire the talent they need to meet their objectives.
So, if the idea of tapping into the global talent pool appeals to you, now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity.
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