The Highly Qualified Professional Visa in Portugal targets foreigners who are not nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland and who have been admitted 1) as students to higher education (principally at doctorate level), or 2) as researchers to collaborate in research recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science, or 3) as a University professor.
At the opening of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon, the Minister of the Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, announced plans to create a residence visa for young entrepreneurs. The initiative aims to attract investment, talent and innovation to Portugal. As of January 2018, third country entrepreneurs who want to open a company will have quick access to a residence visa, allowing them to create or move their enterprise to Portugal.
The Government plans to create a priority process within “SEF” (Immigration and Borders Service) to accelerate the granting of Golden Visas. Currently, many of these potential investments are going to Spain due to excessive delay in Portugal, where applications take as much as ten months for approval. So far this year, investments have already fallen by around 60%. In 2016, Spain attracted €1.1 billion as compared to €873 million in Portugal.
In January, 221 gold visas were granted, which allowed residence permits for a total of 622 immigrants. Most invested in real estate. Since the beginning of the programme, 11,461 foreigners, mostly Chinese, have been legalized. Overall investments total €2.7 billion.