The Budget Law for 2020 (Law No. 2/2020 of 31 March), makes the eighth amendment to Law No. 23/2007 of 4th of July, which regulates the Entry, Stay, Exit, and Removal of foreign citizens from the National Territory (Immigration Law).
In total, four articles of this Law have been amended: Article 19 (Validity of the travel document for refugees); Article 59 (Residence permit for subordinate professional activity); Article 75 (Validity of temporary residence permits); and Article 90a (Residence permit for investment activity).
The changes made are the following:
Article 19º (Validity of the refugee travel document)
The new Law stipulates that the refugee travel document provided for in Article 19/2 shall be valid for five years from the date of issue.
Old rule: the refugee travel document was valid for one year, extendable.
Article 59 (Residence Visa for Subordinated Professional Activity)
The new Law suspends the setting of the overall quota for granting a residence permit for the exercise of professional activity provided for in Article 59 and to the issuing of such visas the conditions set out in paragraph 5 of that Article are applicable.
Old rule: a resolution was approved annually by the government, with the prior opinion of the Standing Committee on Social Dialogue, which defined an overall quota indicating employment opportunities presumably not filled by Portuguese nationals, employees who are nationals of the Member States of the European Union, the European Economic Area, a third State with which the European Community has agreed upon the free movement of persons, as well as employees who are nationals of third States and legally reside in Portugal.
Article 75º (Validity of temporary residence permits)
The new Law simplified the granting and renewal of residence permits and amended the provisions of Article 75º nº1, now stating that the temporary residence permit is valid for two years from the date of issue of the respective title and is renewable for successive periods of three years.
Note: The rule does not apply to cases in which the Law provides for a different period from the stipulated in the general regime of article 75 for the concession as for the renewal, depending on the grounds for the concession, as is the case of the provisions of articles 90ºA, 91º, 91ºB, 92º, 93º, 107º, 109º and 121º-F.
Old rule: previously valid for one year and renewable for successive periods of two years.
Article 90º-A (residence permit for investment activity)
The new law grants legislative authorization to the Government to amend the Residence Authorization through Investment (ARI) regime, also known as the Golden Visa Programme. This amendment has the duration of the economic year to which the Budget Law refers and only serves for future concession applications.
This legislative authorization is extended to promote investment in low-density regions, as well as investment in urban regeneration, cultural heritage, activities of high environmental or social value, productive investment, and job creation.
To do so, the Government is authorized to:
- To restrict the possibility of acquiring a Golden Visa in the form of real estate investment when the said investment is made in the Intermunicipal Communities (CIM) of the interior and Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores;
- Increase the minimum value of investments and the number of jobs to be created.
1) These amendments will enter into force only after the Government has legislated for them, which may or may not be the case;
2) Even if these amendments do enter into force, they are without prejudice to the possibility of renewing residence permits granted under the current regime;
3) They may also be without prejudice to the possibility of granting or renewing residence permits for family reunification when the residence permit for investment has been granted under the current regime.