Portugal now offers a job seeker visa that allows individuals to travel to Portugal and search for job opportunities, even without a job contract. This guide will provide important information from the Portuguese government about this job search visa and how it works.
Introducing Portugal Job Seeker Visa
In the past, it was difficult to find a job in Portugal due to the challenges of obtaining the right employment contract, visa, and travel arrangements. However, things have changed for the better.
Now, you don’t have to spend hours searching for job opportunities online. Instead, you have the option to travel to Portugal and start your job-hunting journey. This is made possible by the new job seeker visa in Portugal, which started on October 30, 2022.
Although the idea of a job seeker visa may be new to most of us, it has already been implemented in five other European countries: Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, and now Portugal. But what exactly is a job seeker visa?
What is the job seeker visa in Portugal?
The job seeker visa in Portugal is a temporary visa that allows foreigners to enter and legally stay in Portugal for a specific period of time while they search for a job.
If they find employment, they can convert the job seeker visa into a long-term residence work permit. However, if they don’t find a job within the job seeker visa’s validity period, they must leave Portugal.
The Portuguese government approved the job seeker visa on June 15, 2022, and it was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Law No. 18 of 2022, published on August 25 of the same year.
The main goals of these changes are to address labor shortages in Portugal, make it easier for foreign job seekers to enter Portugal, and simplify residency procedures for those who work remotely from Portugal.
As a result, individuals interested in moving to Portugal and looking for job opportunities can travel there without needing a job contract in advance and stay for a period of time to search for employment.
Finding job opportunities in Portugal
Finding jobs in Portugal has never been easier. Here are 3 main reasons for that:
1. Improvements in the local employment legislation
The recent changes in Portugal’s employment regulations have made it easier for employers to hire foreign workers.
Previously, employers had to prove that no qualified Portuguese or European candidates were available for the job before considering foreign hires. However, the current regulations no longer require this proof, allowing employers to directly hire foreign workers.
2. Removing the restrictions on the annual quota for issued work visas
Previously, the Portuguese government used to limit the number of work visas given to foreigners each year, such as 20,000 visas in 2019. Currently, there are no restrictions, and more qualified workers can apply for visas.
3. Shortage in labor market
The main objective of these immigration adjustments is to address job vacancies in Portugal, with over 2.5 million job openings according to data from the European Center for Vocational Training Development (CEDEFOP).
Additionally, the World Travel and Tourism Council confirms that there are at least 50,000 vacancies in the tourism and travel sector in Portugal, and the expectation is for further growth in the coming years.
These adjustments were implemented following the success of the Portuguese D7 visa, also known as the Passive Income Visa. This visa allows non-European Union foreigners to reside in Portugal without the need for significant investments or payments.
Portugal job seeker visa duration
The Portuguese government recently announced the rules for foreign job seekers. The duration and validity of a job seeker visa in Portugal is 120 days. If job seekers need more time, they can renew the job seeker visa for an extra 60 days while staying in Portugal.
So, in total, they have 180 days in Portugal to find a suitable job and get a job contract from an approved employer.
There are two possibilities for the job seeker:
- If the job seeker can’t find a job within the 180-day period, they have to leave Portugal. They won’t be allowed to return with the same visa until a whole year has passed since they left the country.
- If the job seeker finds a job that matches their qualifications and gets an employment contract, they can’t start working right away. They need to apply to the authorities to change their job search visa into a temporary worker’s residence permit in Portugal.
In the second case, foreign workers don’t have to wait for the temporary residence permit to be approved. They can start working in Portugal while waiting for the authority’s decision on their residency application, as long as their job search visa is still valid.
Portugal job seeker visa requirements
When applying for a job search visa in Portugal, the requirements may vary depending on your home country. However, the main requirements typically include:
1. Application form: National Visa application filled and duly signed by the applicant.
2. Personal documents: You will need a valid passport for 3 months after the estimated date of return.
3. Personal photos: 2 Photos, even, passport-type, recent and in good condition to identify the applicant.
4. Education and work qualifications: Certificates and proof of experience in your chosen profession to show that you are qualified for jobs in Portugal.
5. Health insurance: You must have valid health insurance that covers the duration of your stay in Portugal.
6. Sufficient funds: The Portuguese embassy wants to make sure you can pay for your accommodation and living expenses while looking for a job in Portugal. You’ll need to prove that you have at least 2820 euros, which should cover your living costs for the first four months.
Proof of the financial resources may be waived upon presentation of a term of responsibility with recognized signature made by a Portuguese citizen or a foreign citizen, with a legal residence authorization in Portugal, which guarantees food and accommodation for the visa applicant, as well as the repatriation costs, in case of irregular stay.
7. Accommodation: You will need to show proof of a hotel reservation or a place to stay when you arrive in Portugal.
8. Certificate of good conduct: You need to provide a document showing that you have a clean criminal record.
9. Language skills: Most job opportunities in Portugal require either Portuguese or English proficiency. You need to demonstrate that you can speak one of these languages. In most cases, you need a good level of Portuguese language.
10. Additional documents: Some Portuguese embassies may ask for a return flight reservation before you apply for the visa. If they do, make sure to book a refundable ticket because you won’t have to leave Portugal if you find a job.
Remember, these are general requirements, and it’s important to check the specific requirements of the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your home country for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
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Changing job seeker visa to work permit in Portugal
If you’re on a job seeker visa and find a job in Portugal, here’s what you should do next:
1. Apply for a work residence permit: As soon as you receive a job offer, apply quickly to change your job seeker visa status into a Portuguese work permit. This allows you to start working before the residence permit is issued.
2. Visit imigrante.sef.pt, the official website of the Portuguese Immigration Service, to find information about application requirements.
Look for the “Applying for RESIDENCE IN PORTUGAL” section and choose “RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR EMPLOYED WORKERS WITH A RESIDENCE VISA,” which is specifically for those applying for a work residence permit while their job seeker visa is still valid.
3. Fill out the application form: Download the application form from the “STANDARD FORMS” section at the bottom of the page.
Complete the form and gather all required documents, including photographs, a valid passport, a valid job seeker visa, proof of sufficient funds for living expenses, evidence of suitable accommodation, permission for SEF to check your criminal record, the employment contract you obtained, proof of registration with the IRS, and your social security number.
4. Prepare all necessary documents: Make sure you have all the required documents ready and then schedule an appointment with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).
5. Getting your work residence permit in Portugal: If your application for the work permit is approved, you will receive a new residence permit. With this permit, you can live and work in Portugal for up to two years, as long as you remain employed.
How to apply for a Portugal job seeker visa
If you want to apply for a Portuguese job seeker visa, you can do it from any country. To begin, you need to make an appointment at the closest Portuguese embassy in your country or a nearby country. Similar to other travel visas, you’ll need to submit a complete application.
To get started, schedule an appointment at the nearest Portuguese embassy and collect all the necessary documents mentioned in the application requirements section of this article. Double-check if there are any additional documents required for your application.
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